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Anki has revealed its fourth consumer product in the form of a home robot that it's calling "Vector," launching on Kickstarter today. Although the company has debuted a Kickstarter to give backers early access to the robot on October 9, it's promising that Vector will launch wide just a few days later, in stores on October 12, 2018.

anki-vector-2.jpg

The new robot looks visually similar to Anki's previous "Cozmo" robot, which teaches kids how to code through games and a compatible iOS app. Vector differs significantly in functionality, however, with the company explaining that Vector is a major step forward in robotics and is meant to be an always-on companion robot that follows you around your house to help in your daily routine.

Once you complete a one-time setup with the connected iOS or Android app, Anki says that all further interactions with Vector are done with eye contact and talking to the robot. Vector is fully autonomous, cloud-connected, and always-on, and has a personality, facial expressions, and animations ("around a thousand") created from a team of animators coming from major studios like Pixar.

anki-vector.jpg

Anki says that Vector is closer to the fantasy of at-home robot helpers than any company has yet to come:
When people imagine what their daily lives will be like with robots, many take inspiration from sci-fi novels, television shows, and films with high-spirited characters like R2-D2 from "Star Wars," and Rosie in "The Jetsons." Instead, the closest the world has come in the quest for affable, useful home robots are puck-like vacuum cleaners and lifeless cylindrical talking speakers. That's about to change.

Anki CEO Boris Sofman: "For the first time, people will be living with a robot that is able to bring both a warm and joyful experience, as well as a new and characterful form of utility. This builds a bridge not just to a new category of home robots, but our own future product lines that will continue to expand on the level of capabilities that are possible."
Vector is outfitted with an HD camera with a 120-degree ultra-wide field of view to see your house and his users, and can even learn the name of everyone he sees. With four microphones to hear and detect commands (by saying "Hey Vector"), you can ask Vector about the weather, geography, nutrition, astronomy, sports, stocks, flights, time zones, unit conversion, currency conversion, and math equations.


The robot also supports setting timers and taking photos, and knows when to greet you at the door when you arrive home thanks to the onboard HD camera and microphones. The company says these features help Vector become a "more productive" member of the household, allowing users to set up additional timers from their other smart devices. The robot can also play a few games using an included "Cube" accessory, knows how to play Blackjack, and dances when he hears music.

When Vector is running low on battery, the robot will locate and travel back to the included charging cradle. Vector also has four cliff sensors with infrared emitters, ensuring that any trips the robot goes on won't end in spills over counter edges in your house.


Anki says that Vector was "designed with security and privacy in mind," with features installed that strengthen the device's security and minimize data collection. According to the company, it "does not store voice or audio in the cloud." Down the line, Anki also promises consistent over-the-air updates that will introduce new features, animations, and commands for Vector.

Currently, the Vector Kickstarter goal is $500,000 in 30 days, and early access backers can get the robot for $199.99 for an estimated arrival on October 9. The retail launch will then happen on October 12, when Vector will be priced at $249.99 and ship with one base charger and one interactive Cube.

Article Link: Anki Reveals Autonomous 'Vector' Home Robot With AI Learning to Help Around the House
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Another Kickstarter project that's unlikely to deliver, even when the goal is met.

Remember over 85% of fully funded Kickstarter projects are delivered late and many are never delivered at all.

Never invest in a Kickstarter more than you can afford to throw away as there is ZERO guarantee you'll ever see anything for your money.
 

Return Zero

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Oct 2, 2013
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I'm typically a pragmatist... but why do I want this so bad?
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Another Kickstarter project that's unlikely to deliver, even when the goal is met.

Remember over 85% of fully funded Kickstarter projects are delivered late and many are never delivered at all.

Never invest in a Kickstarter more than you can afford to throw away as there is ZERO guarantee you'll ever see anything for your money.
I've been burned by kickstarters before, but I think this one is pretty safe. It's basically just a beefed up version of their previous Cozmo toy.
 

SigEp265

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Dec 15, 2011
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I'm typically a pragmatist... but why do I want this so bad?
[doublepost=1533738440][/doublepost]
I've been burned by kickstarters before, but I think this one is pretty safe. It's basically just a beefed up version of their previous Cozmo toy.

I thought backing another Martian watch on Kickstarter would be safe, they were a reputable company. But nothing :(
 

Krayzkat

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It needs to be able to fly/hover up and down tables/stairs/fireplaces etc to be able to actually follow anyone about (unless you live in an igloo).

If this does actually get released and the inevitable sale starts, I might get one just to annoy my cat. I’ll leave it stationed in the cat room (utility room) directly across from the cat flap and teach it to recognise Wee Charlie.
 

pete2106

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It needs to be able to fly/hover up and down tables/stairs/fireplaces etc to be able to actually follow anyone about (unless you live in an igloo).

If this does actually get released and the inevitable sale starts, I might get one just to annoy my cat. I’ll leave it stationed in the car room (utility room) directly across from the cat flap and teach it to recognise Wee Charlie.

If this had been a little drone that flew around the house and was able to get back to it's base when it needed charging it might be a cool idea. Like it would follow you into a room and then land until you get up. If they produced something like that with the AI capabilities I'd be interested. This just looks inconvenient and pointless.
 
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spazzcat

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Jun 29, 2007
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Is this for home automation or a pet? I don't see the point of this and I am all about IoT and HA.
 

ThatGuyInLa

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Oct 26, 2012
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Robo designers need to make these things flying drones, not wheels. Much easier to follow you around the house or outside. You of course could issue “stay here” commands for some privacy. But a companion that flies and lands in the room you’re in is far more efficient.
 
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adamjackson

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Jul 9, 2008
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WTF does this thing actually do?? Why couldn't they make one that goes, you know- on the floor and is large enough to be useful?

I'm certainly confused. It is like Siri / Alexa but it leaves its dock to greet you when you get home. It doesn't actually do anything other than roll around and talk.
 

Braderunner

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I don't get it. Even as a kid, I would have thought it was awesome at first. But, after a few minutes, been like..."but, what does it do"?
They should have put the AI features into a vacuum (like a Roomba), or something. At least then, it would have some purpose.
 

subjonas

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Feb 10, 2014
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Not sure how I feel about robots having “personality”. Knowing it’s programmed (even if AI), I don’t think I would be able to suspend belief enough to actually interact with it as if it were real.

But certainly until they can move about my home independently and actually do useful things like bring me a drink or my remote control (and ideally clean my bathroom), I don’t see a reason for them to move.

A more useful robot might be to combine an assistant with a Rumba, though that’s probably not much more useful than a regular rumba.
 

Fidgetyrat

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Jan 29, 2008
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I received Cosmo as a gift a while back and he was really cute and fun, but they released him with limited function and never really added much more to it even though they could with simple phone app updates. Cosmo even has the capability of returning to his dock (it has a unique sticker symbol for this) but they never programmed him to do so?!

This is basically cosmo with some improved sensors and AI and I don't expect it to evolve much beyond that as they move onto their next product immediately.
 
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