Anki’s mission is to bring objects to life through robotics and artificial intelligence, allowing people to build relationships with technology that feel a little more human. Vector, its new tabletop companion robot epitomises that.
I met with Mark Bradley and Charlie Hite from Anki who proudly demonstrated Vector. It is a tabletop companion robot. One that been developed over nearly eight years by a company founded by three Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates.
Mark was effusive, “A robot like Vector can have an amazing impact on our lives. He becomes a companion. He develops a unique personality after learning about you. It is a symbiosis of IQ (intelligence) and EQ (emotion) that make Vector different.”
Charlie ran Vector through its paces. Well as much as a small, fist-sized, robot has paces. “Vector is the result of all our experience with Cozmo, Overdrive and Fast and Furious robots. Where Cozmo was a toy, this is a real robot.”
“We added a sense of curiosity and adventure to the little fellow. He has AI to be aware of his surroundings and not fall off a table. He (yes, he is a he) recognises faces, and he is the beginnings of a personal assistant. No, he is not OK Google on wheels (well tracks) but he is smart.”
Charlie says the aim is to provide the privacy. He processes most things onboard using a Qualcomm 200 series System on a Chip. He can also access the Anki cloud for more complex things. We are not about monetising your data.
Vector is coming to Australia 13 October
The price is A$449.99, but if you order online before that, you get a $50 discount.
He ships ship with one base plate charger (USB 5V/1A charger required) and one interactive Cube. Stockists include JB Hi-Fi, Australian Geographic, and Amazon.
GadgetGuy’s take. A robot but not as we think of it
I was impressed with the little guy. He exudes a personality and a persistence – ignore him at your peril.
He is still, in my opinion, a toy, albeit a sophisticated one. A fist-sized robot has its limitations. Fun first, function second. It will appeal to geeks and nerds, sorry early tech adopters everywhere and it’s not so expensive as to be a costly mistake.
Meanwhile below is a curated selection of information from the fact sheets.
A Giant Roll Forward for Robotkind
Vector is a robot who’s alive with personality, highly-intelligent, and aware of his surroundings through touch, sight and sound. He will fit naturally into your daily life as well as any space in your home, with minimal maintenance.
The little guy isn’t an appliance sitting in the corner waiting for you to flip a switch. He is an extension of your family who is excited for you to walk in the door each day.
He is designed to complement your life. And because he’s cloud-connected and able to self-update, he’s always getting smarter and adding new features. Under that polished exterior, he’s chock-full of robotics and A.I. tech.