Meet Zenbo, the Asus robot that costs no more than a smartphone

As part of its huge Computex product offensive, Taiwanese tech giant Asus on Monday took the wraps off Zenbo — an all-singing, all dancing robot that wants to be an integral part of your connected household.

Zenbo wants to help grandparents remember to take their medication and will call the emergency services if they may slip or fall and it also wants to lend a hand in the kitchen.

It can offer access to recipes, how-to videos and of course capture for posterity and social media photos of the finished dish. And when mealtime is over Zenbo can get up and perform to entertain the children while the plates are cleared away and even read them their bedtime story.zenbo 2

The brainchild of Asus’s chairman Jonney Shih, Zenbo is being pitched as an affordable robotic computer for every family and one that can offer something to every family member. By giving a web-enabled computer a humanoid face, Asus believes it can make technology less daunting for older consumers.

Rather than use a keyboard and open a browser to search for information or entertainment, they can turn to Zenbo and ask questions or give it commands instead. It can remotely control a host of smart home devices from TVs to lights, use its screen to show who’s at the front door and can automatically take care of the shopping by ordering everything online.

However, it’s the idea that Zenbo can educate and entertain children via interactive stories, video lessons and automatically dimming the bedroom lights when it’s time for bed that might not be for everyone. No matter how vast its library of stories and how well put together its educational games, leaving small children with a robot could end up giving them nightmares.

Still, the demand for what is essentially a robot butler is growing and at $599 (Approx Rs 40,000) Zenbo will cost less than an iPad Pro.

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