Robots are already invading our daily lives, from vacuum cleaners to setting alarms, and who knows you might be talking to one soon.
Ten years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device. Four years ago, Jeff Bezos and company rolled out Echo, prompting millions of people to start talking to computers.
However, a recent report by Amazon claims that the company is ramping up efforts to build and test a domestic robot named "Vesta", after the Roman goddess of domestic life.
The Vesta project originated a few years ago, but this year Amazon began to aggressively ramp up hiring. There are several robotic-specific job listings on the Lab 126 jobs page for openings like “software engineer, robotics” and “principle sensors engineer”.
It is unclear what tasks an Amazon robot might perform. People familiar with the project speculate that the Vesta robot could be a sort of mobile Alexa, accompanying customers in parts of their home where they do not have Echo devices. An Amazon spokesperson said the company does not comment on "rumours and speculations". Guess we will have to wait and see then.
Advances in computer vision technology, cameras and artificial intelligence, as well as voice activation, have helped make it feasible for Amazon to bring its rumoured "domestic robot" to the marketplace. The retail giant has shown itself willing to partially subsidise the costs of its devices from Prime subscribers who buy more products and subscribe to services through its gadgets.
The 'Vesta project' will be tested in employees' homes as soon as this year, and assuming it works, customers would be able to buy their own Vesta home robot next year.
Stay tuned for more details.