- Apr 12, 2001
Anki has been making toys that use artificial intelligence for years now, starting with the Anki Overdrive set of racing cars and the interactive Cozmo toy robot, but this year the company launched its most ambitious product: Vector.
Unlike Cozmo, Vector is no toy, and is instead positioned as a home robotic device. Vector adopts capabilities from Cozmo, but his functionality goes above and beyond the tricks and games Cozmo is known for.
I've had Vector as my constant companion for a week now, and while he is far from the smartest AI I've interacted with, he's definitely the most lovable. It's fitting to think of Vector as a derpy, simpleminded pet that gets things wrong, but in an endearing way.
Vector is kind of like a personal assistant like Siri or Alexa, but with a more limited range, a physical body, and a more expressive personality. With a "Hey Vector" trigger word, Vector can answer questions, obey commands, play games, and more, serving as a friend and helper in day to day life.
Design and Components
Vector is a palm-sized robot that uses the same general design as Cozmo, Anki's previous robot toy. Vector is made from a black plastic material and he has a body that's filled with various sensors and electronics to detect and respond to the environment around him.
Vector has four wheels covered in tank-style treads that allow him to traverse smooth floors and rugs alike, a movable front arm that lets him interact with his cube and adds to his various expressions.
Most of Vector's personality is expressed through his small front display, which is always on and is where his eyes are located. The display lets Vector demonstrate different emotions, and the animated eyes are always shifting and in motion, blinking, narrowing when he's thinking, worried when he detects the edge of a table, wide open when he's looking at you, and slitted when he's asleep.
The display also changes when Vector is answering a question and it is used for things like offering up weather conditions or displaying the time when these questions are asked of Vector. Vector's head component moves independently of his body, allowing him to adjust what he's looking at, giving the sense that he sees things.
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Article Link: Review: Anki's Vector Robot Isn't the Smartest AI, but He's Definitely the Most Adorable
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