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Smart Home

An Amazon home robot may be coming to a living room near you

A secret Amazon project called Vesta is reportedly developing a new product, which may be released as soon as next year.

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Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon might be developing a home robot.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported on a secret project called "Vesta" after the Roman goddess of the hearth, citing anonymous sources familiar with the plans. The device could reach consumers as early as next year, though it may also be scrapped during development, the news service reported.

While the concept may seem far-fetched to some, Amazon has been known to make big bets on oddball and unexpected ideas, and some do catch on. CEO Jeff Bezos said in February that his company will "double down" on development of the Alexa digital voice assistant, so people should expect more smart home devices from the company, even if it's not a robot.

Amazon representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's not entirely clear what the robot would do, but those who spoke to Bloomberg speculated it could be Alexa on wheels, allowing people to bring Amazon's voice assistant with them around the home. Prototypes of the gadget include advanced cameras and computer vision software to let a robot autonomously move around the home.

It's worth mentioning that Amazon already offers a portable Echo speaker with Alexa called the Amazon Tap, which costs about $130 -- likely a bit less than a roaming robot with computer vision.

In related news, shares of iRobot, which makes consumer robots including the Roomba vacuum, were down 2 percent in pre-market trading Monday.

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