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The $599 ASUS Zenbo home robot is just trying to help out around the house

TechCrunch TechCrunch 31/05/2016 Brian Heater

ASUS is going big at Computex this year with the launch of new additions to ZenBook, Transformer and ZenPhone lines. But the biggest new piece to the company’s unfortunately named “Zenvolution” puzzle is this bright-eyed little guy who’s something along the lines of a cross between Wall-E and Sico, the robotic butler who had a fairly unsettling relationship with Adrian’s brother Paulie in Rocky IV.

Nothing unwholesome here, of course. Zenbo (like “ZenBook,” only less “OK”) joined ASUS chairman Jonney Shih on stage during the company’s Taipei presser for a quick cameo. The creepy cute little ET-headed robot got a lot more face time during a lengthy 11-minute ad that highlighted the robot’s many skills, set in a household that’s taken up residence in the Uncanny Valley.

Zenbo’s got a camera with facial recognition capable of making video calls and monitoring the home remotely, coupled with voice commands and vocal responses. It can play music and movies, provide reminders to take medication and head to appointments and help out with various online tasks like, you know, belt shopping. The little ‘bot also has some educational capabilities built in and can help entertain your children when human companions won’t do.

This all appears to be pretty early stages. Zenbo doesn’t have a release date, but Shih did announce that it’ll be selling for $599, a surprisingly affordable price for a little household companion that can both be your child’s best friend and help you pick out the perfect belt.

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