How many sci-fi films have you watched where a cute robot on wheels follows its human counterpart around, responding to questions and providing a little humour when needed most? Ever sat there thinking, “I’d love a robot like that?” Well, Anki (the company behind the successful Cozmo toy robot for kids) may have answered your prayers.
Meet Vector – the family-friendly, pocket-sized robot on wheels. Equipped with AI, Vector is not just a cute piece of technology, he’s also a very useful assistant. At around $449.00 AUD (£249.99 GBP) Vector isn’t designed to physically help you around the house, like wash your dishes or take out the trash. He’s more like a personal assistant, like Alexa or Siri, on wheels. Unlike smart speakers, if Vector’s battery is running low, he can self-charge by rolling his way over to his charger (if you put his charging station somewhere he can reach it!) Take that Google Home!
Vector will answer simple questions like asking about the time, the weather, setting a timer and can even up your selfie game by taking pictures of you using his 120 degree HD camera – adjusting to ensure you’re always in the centre of the frame. Currently, his skill set is reasonably basic, however regular updates will add new features as they’re developed. There may even be opportunities for Vector to interact with your other smart home devices.
To make him even cuter, Vector’s IPS screen acts as a face, showing expressions and moods and he’ll even get angry if you tip him on his side (his touch sensors will know when he’s being meddled with!) With initial setup on your mobile handset, once you’ve introduced yourself to Vector, he’ll be able to recognise your face and call you by name. If you call him, he’ll register where your voice came from using his four microphones and make his way over to you. His camera also enables him to avoid objects and remember faces and he even reacts to loud noises just like you would.
Despite his limited skill set, rumours are that Vector will eventually be able to deliver messages to members of your household (think of all the abuse that would occur!) amongst other useful features. Anki ensure that all data will remain on the device itself and wants to avoid uploading data to the cloud that it will be connected to.
Will you be adopting Vector? Anki’s Vector is available for pre-order on Kickstarter.