Described as a smart home manager, security guard, hands-free kitchen assistant, and family photographer, Zenbo’s "assistance, entertainment and companionship" features are aimed primarily at older people.
The robot is a bit like a two-foot tall digital assistant on wheels, but it also comes with a number of other features. It can remind people of appointments and when to take medicines, and thanks to its smart home connectivity, Zenbo can control lights, TVs, air conditioners, and other appliances when instructed by a user’s voice commands.
The robot’s touch-enabled face can stream videos, do online shopping and place video calls. The display can also show anyone with a connected camera who’s at the door, and even unlock it remotely.
People with elderly relatives who live alone may appreciate one of Zenbo’s best features. The robot can connect to a smart bracelet and alerts others, via a smartphone app, if it detects that the wearer has fallen. Anyone who has been notified will then be able to take control of Zenbo and check the situation using the robot’s built-in camera.
Zenbo isn’t just designed for older people, though. Children will no doubt appreciate the robot’s library of stories that it can read aloud, its singing talents, and the fact it can dance (kind of) to music. Kids can also play interactive games on Zenbo, and it's even supposed to be able to act as a tutor.
"For decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion: One that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal," Shih said. "Our ambition is to enable robotic computing for every household."
Asus is opening up Zenbo’s SDK so developers can create new apps for the robot, which should mean that it will have even more functions by the time it’s released.