Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Is Alexa getting a big brother? Amazon is working on a secret home robot

Amazon is working on a home robot — which really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about it. Ever since its push into online book sales when the World Wide Web was young (about the same time Barnes & Noble and Borders were bringing the hurt to small mom-and-pop bookstores) Amazon has blazed paths other companies only glanced at.

The latest? Amazon’s Sunnyvale, California-based Lab126 hardware research and development division is working on a domestic robot project code-named “Vesta,” Bloomberg Technology reported. Lab126 developed the Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and other Amazon electronics hardware product.

A quick search of the Lab126 Jobs website shows the division is currently seeking a Robotics Software Engineer, Robotics Software Development Manager, Senior Applied Robotics Scientist, and Robotics Software QA Manager among 10 positions for robotics specialists.

According to “people briefed on the plan,” a tentative timeline includes early robot versions in Lab126 employees’ homes by late 2018, with a possible market launch in 2019.

“Prototypes of the robots have advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car,” according to Bloomberg.

A robot could work as a central call-and-message service for and between family members, as well as help kids with homework. With the right links, search techniques, and Alexa Skills, a robot could serve as a rolling assistant that provides step-by-step or background information while family members cook, work on budgets or finances, or plan parties, dates, or vacations.

There may also be special-purpose home robots, including models trained to make wireless connections with all the computing, productivity, entertainment, and smart home electronics in the house and on the property to monitor power status or ward off or block invasion threats. It could also make sure all devices have updated software and drivers, and that important data is backed up to the cloud.

Internet connectivity as an enabling infrastructure has been at the root of all successful Amazon ventures. Low-cost Kindle electronic book readers, Amazon Echo counter-top voice assistants, and Amazon Fire TV smart television dongles all leveraged internet access. The Amazon Fire Phone was a notable exception. It failed quickly.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
The underappreciated Amazon Sidewalk network is bigger than you think
Amaaon Sidewalk graphic showing connected devices and households.

Amazon Sidewalk -- a shared network that helps smart home devices stay connected -- first launched in 2021 and has been steadily growing larger over the past few years. In fact, the size of Amazon Sidewalk might surprise you, as the network’s first coverage map shows a massive blanket that Amazon says covers 90% of the U.S. population.

The recently launched interactive map makes it clear that Amazon didn’t forget about Sidewalk after releasing it two years ago. It’s a service that doesn’t often step into the spotlight, but one that’s obviously been high on the priority list over at Amazon HQ. The interactive map coincides with an announcement that Sidewalk is officially open to all developers, allowing them to integrate their products with the network and enhance the already impressive coverage map.

Read more
Ecovacs introduces three new robot vacuums for homes of all sizes
The new ECOVACS products on a kitchen floor.

Ecovacs is one of the biggest names in the world of robot vacuums, and it’s looking to continue that dominance in 2023 with three new product launches. Ranging in price from $650 to $1,300, the trio of DEEBOT robot vacuums is designed for smart homes of different sizes and different needs, ensuring there’s something for every family.

The Deebot T10 Omni is the most compelling of the three -- and it’s also the most expensive at $1,300. It brings a lot to the table, however, as it features the new Ozmo Turbo 2.0 mopping system with spinning brushes, the ability to take voice commands without a third-party product, and a docking station with auto-cleaning and auto-emptying capabilities. It’s designed for homes of all sizes, but it should be the most enticing for large families that see plenty of foot traffic (or paw traffic) through their house.

Read more
What to do if your Amazon Alexa app is not working
Alexa app on phone.

Amazon Alexa might be one of the most popular smart assistants, but it’s not without a few flaws. For instance, some users have experienced crashes while using the Amazon Alexa app -- and others have found the app to be entirely unresponsive when trying to control their Amazon Echo devices.

Issues like this are typically picked up on by Amazon and immediately fixed with a patch, but sometimes there’s an issue on the user’s end that needs to be remedied before things start functioning as intended. If your Amazon Alexa app is not working or responding, here are a few ways to fix it.
Check for a software update

Read more