As a smart home reviewer of a certain age, all I’ve ever wanted for my home is a Rosie the Robot.
The Jetsons’ mechanical housekeeper was the example I held Amazon’s Astro to when I tested the company’s first home robot — and, unsurprisingly, it failed.
Not just because it had no arms but because it couldn’t really do anything.
Well, according to internal documents from Amazon seen by Insider, the company thinks they’ve found the keys to unlock Astro’s potential.
Burnham is a secret new AI robot project they’re developing that adds a layer of “intelligence and conversational spoken interface” to a smart home robot (Insider reports).
A Burnham-powered Astro upgrade could turn it into a home robot that gets the context of a chaotic house and responds accordingly. Insider reports that the tech “remembers what it witnessed and comprehends” and can then “chime in a Q&A chat about what it saw” and use AI driven by LLMs to act on it.For example, the docs describe Astro with Burnham able to detect a stove left on or a faucet running and track down its owner to alert them. It could check on someone who’s fallen and call 911 if it’s an emergency.
It could help you find your keys, check if a window was left open overnight, and monitor whether kids had friends over after school. All these things are doable with existing smart home tech, but they require multiple steps and devices; Astro can do it all in one!
But Amazon is exploring something even cooler: robots that can spot problems and solve them. Like if there’s broken glass on the floor, it knows it poses a hazard so it’ll prioritize sweeping it up before someone steps on it.
They call this “Contextual Understanding,” which is their latest, most advanced AI tech designed to make robots more intelligent, useful, and conversational – basically Rosie the Robot (minus the arms).
Burnham won’t be available anytime soon though – Amazon admits they still have a long way to go. You still can’t buy Astro without an invite and its price has gone up to $1,600. Plus, Amazon even scrapped plans for a cheaper version!
Despite the increasing use of generative AI by tech companies like Amazon, a Rosie-level robot is still science fiction. Even after Amazon’s statement, “Our robot has a strong body.
What we need next is a brain”, I’m not sure I really want an AI-powered robot roaming around my home…