Amazon has released its home robot, and it’s called Alex. It works with Alexa, to buy things and stream stuff to your home. But Alex is fundamentally different; it can move around the house and help you with domestic chores. Just like the robot butler featured in sci-fi movies.
Alex has been quietly, almost secretly, developed by Amazon over the last three years, and now it’s ready for Prime Time. There’s already a waiting list from Amazon Prime customers, who have been given first dibs on the new gadget.
As Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, so prophetically said, the tech company that can conquer the home environment, “a computer in every home,” is the one that will dominate the future. He was pinning his hopes on Windows, but that was decades ago.
Now we have become accustomed to talking to our home computers, with phrases like “OK Google,” or “Hey Siri.” And half the time, our computers are in our pockets; but in reality we’re just accessing the cloud.
We are used to the voice interface, but what about when we need our intelligent assistants to help us up after we’ve fallen, or bring us a device or tool when we need it? That sounds like the job for a robot. So why not combine the two?
Amazon have taken the lead with Alex, by ploughing billions into robotics and AI research. They’ve had warehouse robots for ages, so they know how to make mechanical assistants that are useful for humans.
Rumours that Google is readying their home robot, called “Alpha,” for release in the coming months, have neither been confirmed nor denied by the other tech giant.
I hope it’s true. I can’t wait for the cage fight between Alex and Alpha!