A humanoid robot that is equipped to operate at home will soon be available to receive commands through Alexa, the digital voice assistant from Amazon.
The robot, named Sanbot Nano was launched on Thursday by Chinese technology firm Qihan. Standing at 2.7 feet, the robot uses voice technology from Alexa to communicate in both English and German . It will be available for sale starting October for $2,800.
The Sanbot Nano can hear voices, recognize when someone enters a room and avoid obstacles with the help of 50 sensors around its frame. Users of the robot will be able to access all the features that Alexa permits such as ordering pizza or controlling lights.
Alexa, the leading digital voice assistant was first made available publicly in 2014 when Amazon’s Echo smart speaker was launched and since then has found its way into different devices and home appliances through Amazon’s licensing program which allows manufacturers to integrate Alexa into their devices through the Alexa Voice Service.
Qihan is not a newcomer to the world of robotics having released humanoid robots for commercial use. Sanbot Elf, for example, was extensively utilized by the Dubai Police to interview potential candidates. Sanbot Nano represents Qihan’s first push into the home market.
In a press release on Thursday, Qihan’s chief marketing officer Ryan Yu, said that Sanbot Nano which is specifically designed to operate within a home environment, is customized to make every family enjoy the services of a personal assistant.
The market for personal robots is projected to expand rapidly to reach $34.1 billion by 2022 representing an annual growth of 37.8 percent. It’s a competitive industry with customers in various sectors including manufacturing, policing and hospitality.
The humanoid robots market is still in its infancy and other players like Japan’s SoftBank are developing robots with varying functionality. For example, SoftBank’s Pepper robot has the ability to analyze expressions and voice tones.