Meet Zenbo, a “21st Century Butler” for $599

Rafia Shaikh
Posted May 30, 2016
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While Amazon, Google and (allegedly) Apple all focus on their voice-based home assistants, ASUS is bringing some walking-talking-dancing cuteness into the game. Zenbo works similar to Amazon’s Echo, responding to voice queries and helping its owners logging into websites, inputting passwords, taking photos, and more. But, unlike other home assistants, it’s much more than just a speaker-kinda thiny sitting in your living room. Zenbo is a friendly home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families.

ASUS unveils Zenbo, a smart companion and home robot for $599

At the Zenvolution press event at Computex 2016 in Taipei, along with unveiling some smartphones, tablets and notebooks, ASUS also introduced its home robot – say hello to Zenbo. Zenbo is a cute (it looks a little too much like BB-8) and ‘friendly” home assistant robot that can move around the house independently, play games with kids, and more importantly, assist its owners. ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih, while unveiling the new addition to the family, demoed several of Zenbo’s features. Zenbo took pictures of Johnney Shih with the crowd, answered questions, failed to respond to others quite wittingly, and made some cute faces too.

For decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion: one that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal. Our ambition is to enable robotic computing for every household,” – Shih.

Along with providing all the Echo-like assistance, since it’s a robot and not just a voice-based stationary product, Zenbo will play a role of a companion to the family. It can play with the kids, tell stories, dance to music and work as a tutor too. The robot will also be useful to older users, as the demo video details how Zenbo helped a grandfather who fell over all alone in the home. Zenbo took his picture and sent it to his daughter, who then got him rescued. Awkwardness aside, Zenbo looks like a decent attempt at “cute” home assistance.

Zenbo can express its emotion with different facial expressions, see with its camera, provide remote home monitoring, and hear and respond to your naturally spoken questions and requests.

ASUS hasn’t shared any release dates, but the home robot will cost only $599 when it rolls out into homes.

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