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ASUS unveils its rolling robot 'Zenbo' at Computex 2016

By Ciara Alarcon & Koh Wanzi - on 31 May 2016, 10:42am

ASUS unveils its rolling robot 'Zenbo' at Computex 2016

This cute robot rolls and has a touchscreen face. (Image Source: ASUS)

 ASUS just made a robot! The ASUS Zenbo is an endearing little bot that can perform all manner of things around the home, from taking a family portrait for you to reminding you about the items on your to-do list. It’s as if someone took BB-8 and put him into a more family-friendly body, with a crash course in spoken English thrown in.

For starters, Zenbo doesn’t communicate in chirps and whistles, and can reply you in proper sentences when asked a question.

But its strength lies in its abilities as a smart home companion, and ASUS took care to emphasize its potential role as a robotic buddy for the elderly. Zenbo automatically provides spoken reminders of important information, such as doctor’s appointments, medication schedules, and exercise regimes. On top of that, it can even monitor its human wards for emergency situations like falls, and proceed to alert their family members via their smartphones.

ASUS also intends for it to function as a playmate for children, albeit one that can facilitate educational activities, like games that employ logic and creative thinking. In addition, Zenbo can entertain kids with interactive stories, as it comes with a built-in story library and a repertoire of voices to regale children with.

In a way, Zenbo aims to make it easier for non-digital natives to access a range of digital services today. Because you can interact with it using voice commands and the touchscreen display on its head, you can do things like use social media, shop online, and even stream movies and TV shows fairly easily.

Furthermore, the robot can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app, so it doubles as a home security camera as well. The final feather in its cap is its ability to control a variety of smart home devices, including lights, TVs, air conditioners, and even smart locks.

There’s even a price attached to this thing, in case you need convincing that it isn’t just a concept design. It will cost just US$599, which actually seems surprisingly affordable. Finally, ASUS also created the Zenbo Developer Program to encourage external parties to create more apps and use cases for its home robot.