Taiwanese electronics maker Asus launched a smart mini robot called Zenbo at Computex 2016. The robot, claims the company, can do almost every household work you command it to do besides acting as your personal assistant for playing your favourite song, streaming movies, making video calls etc.

The company describes the robot "as a friendly and capable home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families and meant to address the needs of each family member in this ubiquitous computing era". It is the brainchild of Asus Chairman Johney Shih who had a vision for enabling robotic computing and making it available to the public at large.

Here are some of the functions the Zenbo can perform:

  • Provide audio reminders of important information, such as doctor's appointments, medication and exercise schedules
  • Monitor your home for emergency situations and instantly notify specified family members on their smartphones.
  • Can be remotely controlled to perform specific tasks like direct a live feed of the area to their smartphone via its inbuilt camera.

  • Zenbo has a built-in library of stories that it can tell in a variety of entertaining voices, while displaying accompanying images on its screen and controlling the room lighting to add a new level of interactivity and fun to story time for kids. It also comes with educational games on board.
  • Zenbo's built-in screen to view visitors at the door and then unlock it with a simple voice command makes it work as a smart lock device. It can also act as a remote-controlled home security camera that is accessible from anywhere via an intuitive smartphone app.
  • One can rely on it to perform their everyday digital functions like video calls, social media posting, online shopping, and of course stream movies and TV shows through its screen using just voice commands.

Although there are lots of robots like these in the Chinese market, this is the first to be associated with a relatively bigger and more global name like Asus and the availability of the robot also seems more promising than others. The robot has been priced at $599 (£410).

There are many digital voice assistants in the market like the Amazon Echo which have become hugely popular in a very short time. If the Zenbo can do things as claimed by the company it may just give really tough competition to the Echo and other devices.