Scientists and technology experts have been painting such a futuristic picture that we all thought we’d have robots (like family members) at home by now. Sadly, Alexa and Roomba don’t cut the deal, as it is quite hard to get attached to such ‘machines’.
However, a new robotics company called Anki, has come up with their latest robot ‘Vector’ which can be interpreted as a cross between a pet and smart home assistant. As for its look, think of combining the two main characters in Wall-E, do you see it now? Vector sets on a set of wheels that have tank-like treads and a protruding arm – much like a bulldozer’s. The best part is that the robot’s head moves up and down and has a super expressive face. There is an IPS screen that shows two huge animated eyes which enlarge, frown, squint or mope as per its mood or actions – how adorable, right?
If any of you have seen Anki’s Cozmo, you might be able to spot the similarities. Yet, Vector and Cozmo are poles apart as Cozmo basically serves as a toy for kids while Vector is much more practical but entertaining at the same time. Hence, it would be an easy guess to say Vector has a smarter ‘brain’. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processor used in smartphones, Vector runs on various complex AI algorithms and deep machine learning systems that enable him to identify and respond. Similarly, there is an HD wide-angle camera, four microphones, a laser scanner to move around without bumping into things, infrared ‘cliff’ sensors on the side and a touch sensor at the back.
Vector is able to pull off all basic tasks such as fetching information from the cloud, displaying the weather forecast or taking a picture. All you need to do is say ‘Hey Vector’ and he’ll be all ears! While many other robots can perform the same functions, Vector does it differently. He will recognize you from afar and greet you excitedly the minute he sees you. Moreover, he won’t just state information, but will convey it in an animated manner. For instance, if you ask him about the weather, you’ll see rain clouds on his face in addition to a loud response. Since Vector has the ability to recognize people, different users can personalize him accordingly – say if you are into sports, he’ll welcome you with sports updates!
Assuming some might be skeptical about their privacy, Anki has ensured that all data will be processed within the robot and all cloud correspondence will be safe and secure. Okay enough with the boring part – hear this: Vector starts dancing the minute he hears music and actually snores when you plug him in for charging. He can even play games like Blackjack through the Cube accessory. These features make Vector stand out and be more than just a toy that you can play with for a couple of hours. The communication with this robot is one on one and not through an app, which is typically the case. However, this does not mean that there is no app, the app available is merely for altering the settings.
You can find Vector on Kickstarter, where Anki is taking preorders, for as low as $199 (early bird discount). Shipping will begin in October at a retail price of US $249.99 – hey, it is still under $250!
All Images: © Anki
h/t: Design Boom