Skip to main content

This friendly little robot will read stories to your kids, and teach you yoga

If having a friendly little robot wander around your house, chirpily keeping everyone’s spirits up, makes you excited for the future; the wait is almost over. A company named UBTech has started a crowd-funding campaign for a ‘bot it calls Alpha 2, and should it be successful, the plan is to have the robot in homes early next year.

Before we all get too excited, this isn’t C-3PO. It’s not even Buddy the house robot. Alpha 2 is pretty small, standing around 17-inches high, so there’s a good chance you’ll step on him in a dark room. It’ll probably hurt too, thanks to his humanoid shape and combination of aluminum alloy and ABS plastic body.

He’s quite a lot like your smartphone, only capable of moving around. Alpha 2 can talk, so he provides reminders about your day, takes you through instruction guides, reads stories to your kids, and warns you if it’ll rain later when you’re heading out. Beyond this, his range of movement makes him a good yoga teacher (yes, really), and he has a camera to take happy snaps of everyone having fun.

Alpha 2 Robot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We mentioned Alpha 2’s a bit like a phone? He can make calls, send emails and messages, make posts to social networks, and link up to other Wi-Fi devices in your home. He’s even powered by a smartphone processor — Samsung’s hexa-core Exynos 5260, seen in the Galaxy Note 3 Neo — has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an Android 4.4 operating system.

Alpha 2 sounds like fun, but he’s not without drawbacks. First, he’s expensive at $500 if you catch the early bird offer, or $600 if you miss out. Second, the company mentions an app store specific to Alpha 2, where special apps will be sold to enhance its functionality, so expect to pay more over time. Finally, the battery is small, and may only keep Alpha 2 up and about for an hour before he needs recharging. That’s not good.

If you’re not put off by the downsides, you can support Alpha 2’s campaign on Indiegogo here, where he’s part way towards a $100,000 goal. Deliveries, should it all go according to plan, will begin in February 2016.

Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more