Remember Cozmo, the AI, kid-friendly toy robot? He was designed by Anki, the same company that is now giving us the Vector, which is supposed to be a tiny robot that the entire family can hang out with.
While it cannot make coffee or clean the dishes, Mark Palatucci, the co-founder of Anki, said that, with Vector, they wanted to bring a sci-fi character to life.
Credit: Anki / Youtube
The robot sports an IPS screen which shows Vector’s expressions which reflect its mood. Probably one of the small gestures that definitely bring it to life is the fact that when want to ask it a question, Vector will turn around and face you, waiting to see what you have to say. If you ask it about the weather and it happens to be raining, little water droplets will cover its face and it will get annoyed.
It also check its surroundings when the mood strikes; if it detects an object, it will go check it out and see if it can be pushed around. Basically, you can leave it to its own devices and it will just go about the house as it wants, inspecting things and simply walking around. It will locate its charger as well and position itself inside the slot if the battery runs low.
Once you introduce yourself, it will register your face so it can call you by your name later. Apparently, the more you interact with it, the more it will learn and develop a personality.
Vector is capable of answering questions and you can also, apparently, ask it to play Blackjack. It can also come find you if you ask it to – it will simply work out the direction your voice is coming from, thanks to the four microphones it has on board. In addition to those microphones, it also comes with a Qualcomm processor and a 120-degree HD camera. If you ask it to take a photo of you, it will automatically position itself to get the best framing.
For now, the robot is fairly basic but the company assures us that, thanks to over-the-air updates on a regular basis, Vector will get even better in time.
Also an important fact: Vector does not store any information in its cloud. All the computation tasks happen locally, so the robot is not used to mine for data, just to offer a really cool experience.
For the moment, Vector is available for pre-order on Kickstarter for $199 and the backers will not only get the robot a few days earlier but also early access to the SDK which will allow them to code the robot themselves.