Controlled by voice commands, the robot is integrated with smart homes, looks after the elderly and entertains young children.
"Enable robotic computing for every household" is the goal of the Chairman of Taiwan company ASUS, Jonney Shih, who has launched the Zenbo robot.
"For decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion [Zenbo]. One that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal", he goes on to say. Zenbo, a small, spherical robot from which a touchscreen emerges, is on sale at half the price - 599 dollars- than its closest competitor, Pepper, by SoftBank.
Zenbo responds to voice commands, not only answering its owner's questions, but also taking photos, setting up video calls and playing music. This range of functions, though, is nothing that is not already covered by other "around the house" Artificial Intelligence services, like Amazon Echo, Google Home and the small static robot JIBO.
Where Zenbo really comes into its own is by looking for a reason beyond the desire to collect innovative high-tech toys with which the market is overflowing. That's why the ASUS robot entertains the little ones with illustrated and interactive stories and question and answer games, and looks after the elderly, by including an emergency warning system in the event of a fall or other accidents around the home, and important reminders such as doctor appointments.