Who are the developers Anki?
The company are highly regarded as being at the leading edge of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) aimed for the consumer home robot market. Anki was set-up as a company in 2010 by three Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates – Boris Sofman, Mark Palatucci & Hanns Tappeiner.
Anki initially released the Cozmo robot aimed as a children’s toy and which became the number 1 best selling toy in 2017. They are now looking to build on the success of the Anki Overdrive racing car game as well as Cozmo with Vector.
The Anki company mission statement is –
We (Anki) bring objects to life through robotics and artificial intelligence, allowing people to build relationships with technology that feel a little more human.
So now we have the release of Vector and with it the company’s first foray in releasing their first home robot aimed for all the family, adults and children alike. Designed as a little home robot by Anki. Vector may be a tiny robot but it is made up of close to 700 parts.
What is the Anki Vector Home Robot?
The little robot Vector has been created as a little character robot and designed to live in your home with the ability to interact with you and your family. The emphasis is towards Vector offering a character of its own in addition to offering to help you around your house. It will be autonomous, self-aware so as to avoid falling off a table and aware when you are home to welcome you. It will also be aware of any new visitors to your home and will look quizzical until introduced. The little home robot has been designed by Anki as well as Pixar.
Anki Team explaining Vector in this video –
Just like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri you can, for example, ask Vector the weather and it will express it on its face, ask it to set a timer for you. Currently, it can also take photos for you as well as deal blackjack cards on its face. In addition, it can connect itself to the Internet to search for answers to the questions that you pose Vector. As with Sony’s Aibo, Vector likes to be petted.
See Anki’s Vector in action in this video –
Designed with an OLED camera built into its face/screen which allows it to not only process and analyse what it sees but also to recognise. The embedded use of AI and machine learning makes this all possible. It has deep neural networks designed to allow Vector to understand it’s surroundings and the objects it comes across which allows it to react intentionally and accordingly.
Asking Vector a question. See the following video:
2018 Pricing for Anki Vector Home Robot?
Vector is now available to order directly from Anki.com website. Pricing quoted as of October 2018 is as follows with link to each Anki local country website to purchase the Vector robot:
- US – $249
- UK – £249
- Canada – Price still TBC
- Australia – Price still TBC
- Japan – Availability & Price still TBC
- France – Availability & Price still TBC
- Germany – Availability & Price still TBC
Please continue checking the above in-country Anki.com websites for availability an pricing where is has not yet been confirmed.
Future developments suggested by Anki for the Vector Home Robot?
The company see Vector as work in practice with their developers looking to add some of the following future capability such as –
- 360′ Photos
- Smart Home Control
- Read the News
- Calendar Notifications
- Music Recognition
- Security Camera
- Deliver Notifications and Messages
- Read out a Word of the Day
It will then, likely become closer in alignment with the capability of Alexa or Google Home but with the added advantage of offering a unique little character robot to your home. Given the developments in artificial voice such those from LyreBird and Google Duplex, the home robot may have a future capability of sounding like anyone you desire, famous or otherwise.
Anki type home assistant robots could possibly lead the way for the AI based technology becoming part and parcel of a home robot. It may be tiny today but one day, who knows, the home robot may become closer to those robots we are used to seeing on big screen and be a lot larger. Tiny steps at this stage.
There is also potential towards using this type of technology along with a Chatbot type AI solution.
The question is how long will it be?