Anki, the makers behind little robot race cars that pit themselves against your phone, have a new project to show us. Cozmo is a little toy robot that might be the cutest thing ever invented in the history of the universe.
We have covered cute robots before. But Cozmo is something altogether different. This latest little marvel in A.I. shows the next step in the evolution of artificial intelligence.
Anki Cozmo: A Robot With a Brain
When looking at videos of the little robot, what immediately stands out is the way it interacts with people and objects around it. The goal was to make a character, not a device. They wanted to make something that people would fall in love with.
Activating Cozmo causes his little eyes to blink slowly open and look around. When he sees people he will ask for their name and familiarize himself with their faces. He will speak to them, and recognize them using facial recognition software in the future.
But more than that, Anki Cozmo will recognize the role that the person they recognize plays in his environment. He will keep memories of that person, and act accordingly.
His little forklift hands can lift, allowing the toy to play different games. He moves and can be controlled through a phone. Everything about the robot is an amazing leap on consumer-friendly robotics.
Already the little guy is being described as an animated character brought into the real world. Given the parallels between Cozmo and Pixar’s Wall-e, that seems perfectly fair.
Engagement Leads To Personality
Being a form of A.I., the aim is to have a personality develop through learning. That means a few things. First, you can play with Cozmo and he will begin to change based on your interactions. Second, you unlock levels and games through that growth, so he can do more as you play more. Third, he remembers you, your game, and how you have engaged in the past.
If this seems like something you want in your life (and if you don’t, you may be a monster), you are in luck. Anki Cozmo is on pre-sale right now for $159.99, $20 less than the coming in-store price. If you pre-order you will get your robot at your door two days before the store launch.
I will admit it, I am a sucker for robots, any robots. So seeing something like this is always a cause for excitement in me.