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Designers of Amazon’s new household robot have called it a ‘disaster that’s not ready for release’, with one even claiming that it will throw itself down stairs ‘if presented the opportunity’

Designers of Amazon’s new household robot have called it a ‘disaster that’s not ready for release’, with one even claiming that it will throw itself down stairs ‘if presented the opportunity’.

The $1,450 (£1,115) Alexa-powered bot called Astro was unveiled by the company yesterday as an autonomous device that can monitor a person’s home while they are not there.

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It can be remote-controlled to check on pets, people and home security, and provide alerts about any disturbances.

But it appears some of its designers are far from convinced the bot will live up to Amazon’s billing.

One person who worked on it called Astro ‘terrible’, while another dismissed Amazon’s promotional pitch that it could help the elderly as ‘absurdist nonsense’, .

Designers of Amazon's new household robot Astro have called it a 'disaster that's not ready for release', with one even claiming it will throw itself down stairs 'if presented the opportunity'

Designers of Amazon’s new household robot Astro have called it a ‘disaster that’s not ready for release’, with one even claiming it will throw itself down stairs ‘if presented the opportunity’

The $1,450 Alexa-powered bot called Astro (pictured) was unveiled by the company yesterday as an autonomous device that can monitor a person's home while they are not there

The $1,450 Alexa-powered bot called Astro (pictured) was unveiled by the company yesterday as an autonomous device that can monitor a person’s home while they are not there 

Motherboard claims to have seen leaked documents that suggest Astro’s facial recognition system is ‘heavily flawed’, meaning it can struggle to identify whether a person is a stranger or not. 

‘The person detection is unreliable at best, making the in-home security proposition laughable,’ a source who worked on the project said.  

They also said the robot was fragile and that several devices had broken.  

Amazon told MailOnline the claims were ‘simply inaccurate’ and that Astro has gone through ‘rigorous testing on both quality and safety’.

The robot will be priced at $1,450 (£1,115), but as part of Amazon’s – which gives customers the chance get early access and contribute feedback – it will be available for an introductory price of $1,000 (£740).   

After purchasing the robot, customers are asked to ‘enroll’ the faces and voices of anyone who is likely to be in a home so that it can learn who is supposed to be there.

If it then sees someone it doesn’t recognise it will follow them around the house and record audio and video of them before automatically uploading the recording so its user can view it later.

One of Astro’s designers called this data collection ‘a privacy nightmare’, adding that ‘it is an indictment of our society and how we trade privacy for convenience’. 

However, Amazon insists Astro has been built with multiple layers of privacy and security controls to keep customer information safe. 

It says data sent to the cloud is encrypted and securely stored, while users can define ‘out-of-bounds’ zones to let Astro know which areas of a person’s home are off-limits.

The only way to prevent the robot following someone is to disable ‘stranger investigation’ or if the user tells it to ‘stop moving’. 

Astro will also investigate further if it hears something unusual such as glass breaking or a fire alarm.

It has an extendable ‘periscope’ camera that pops up from its head and can carry out tasks such as checking if a gas hob has been left on after a person leaves their home.

Other products announced by Amazon yesterday included the Echo Show 15. It has a 15.6-inch display that you can mount to your wall or place on your counter

Other products announced by Amazon yesterday included the Echo Show 15.It has a 15.6-inch display that you can mount to your wall or place on your counter

It also launched a children's device called 'Amazon Glow' for £240. It combines 'immersive projection, sensing, and video technologies to make it feel like you're having fun in-person

It also launched a children’s device called ‘Amazon Glow’ for £240.It combines ‘immersive projection, sensing, and video technologies to make it feel like you’re having fun in-person

Amazon has also suggested that it could help customers who are remotely caring for elderly relatives and loved ones, but the source called it ‘potentially dangerous for anyone who’d actually rely on it for accessibility purposes’.

The robot is available to purchase by invite for people in the US, meaning interested customers have to sign up to have a chance to buy. 

An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘These characterizations of Astro’s performance, mast, and safety systems are simply inaccurate. 

‘Astro went through rigorous testing on both quality and safety, including tens of thousands of hours of testing with beta participants. 

‘This includes comprehensive testing on Astro’s advanced safety system, which is designed to avoid objects, detect stairs, and фильмы 2022 года онлайн stop the device where and when necessary.’

included the Echo Show 15, a children’s device called ‘Amazon Glow’ for them to share an ‘interactive projected space’ with loved ones and a new security doorbell.

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