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Review: Anki's Vector Robot Isn't the Smartest AI, but He's Definitely the Most Adorable

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,

'Anki' Articles

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Vector Robot From Anki

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Anki to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win one of the company's adorable little Vector robots, which designed to be a personal robot companions that are fun for the whole family. Vector is an autonomous, cloud-connected robot that's eager to entertain, interact with you, and answer questions on a range of topics with the "Hey Vector" trigger word, much like Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. Priced at $249.99, Vector is a palm-sized robot equipped with small front display that allows Vector to express his endearing personality. Vector's body is filled with a host of sensors, including an HD camera designed to let Vector see the world around him. Vector can navigate spaces, learn what's around him, recognize people's faces and remember them, and take photographs. A four-microphone array lets him listen for questions and commands, and there are built-in touch sensors and an accelerometer that allow Vector to feel touch and detect when he's picked up. A high-powered processor lets Vector answer your questions and process the environment around him, and he has his own unique voice and language. Vector can provide the weather, solve equations, offer up word definitions, answer pop culture questions, and more. Vector can do tricks like wheelies or he can play with an included cube, and there's an interactive game of blackjack available. We reviewed Vector earlier this year and loved his personality. Vector isn't as smart as Siri or Alexa just yet, but he's a fun home addition that's more of a pet or a friend than a

Anki's 'Vector' Home Robot Now Available for Purchase

Anki, known for its lineup of Overdrive iPhone-controlled cars and the Cozmo robot, today announced the official launch of its newest product, the Vector home robot. Vector first debuted on Kickstarter back in August, where it earned nearly $2 million in funding. Unlike Cozmo, Anki's first robot, Vector is not a toy and is instead meant to be a robot companion. Vector is autonomous, cloud-connected, always on, and ready to help you get through the day. Vector can do things that Alexa and Siri can do, like providing the weather, setting the time, providing word definitions, solving equations, answering pop culture questions, and more. Vector is activated with a "Hey Vector" command. Vector can also take a photo of you and offer up a game of blackjack. In the future, Anki also plans to add Alexa support to allow Vector to do more. Other future capabilities include smart home control, notifications, music recognition, security camera functionality, news information, messages, and more. Anki's robot is designed to interact with you using eye contact and voice commands, and Anki has given him a personality so that he's fun to interact with. Vector is equipped with an HD camera that lets him see the world around him, navigate spaces, recognize people, and take images. There's also a four-microphone array so that he can hear commands, and there are built-in touch sensors and an accelerometer allowing him to feel touch. Vector also has a high-powered processor that allows him to answer queries and process the environment around him, and he has his own

Anki Reveals Autonomous 'Vector' Home Robot With AI Learning to Help Around the House

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. 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 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

MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Anki OVERDRIVE Fast & Furious Edition Racing Game

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Anki to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win the Anki OVERDRIVE: Fast & Furious Edition iPhone-compatible racing game. Anki OVERDRIVE is an intelligent battle racing system where players construct different battle tracks for AI-controlled cars to race on. Each car that races on the OVERDRIVE track is equipped with unique capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses and the idea is to pit your strategic skills against your friends or the computer to win. With Anki OVERDRIVE, you don't control the car yourself -- you build the track and use your car's features to win out against the opponent, initiating races via the iPhone and using your car's unique abilities and weapons at the right times. The latest version of Anki OVERDRIVE, the Fast & Furious Edition, is based on the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise. It comes equipped with unique cars from the "Fast & Furious" movies and a new game mode, Hyperspeed, that lets you cars race faster than ever. Priced at $170, Anki OVERDRIVE Fast & Furious comes with a full track for you to build and super detailed replicas of movie vehicles, including Dom's Ice Charger and Hobbs' MXT. Each vehicle has unique skills, such as a Grappling Hook on Dom's Ice Charger, which can slow down opponents while giving your car a boost, and Spike Strips for the MXT. As for weapons, each car is equipped with short range, long range, and area of effect weapons, and there are a range of support items available like shields, tractor beams, scramblers, and boosts. Car abilities, items, and

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Cozmo Robot From Anki

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Anki to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win one of Anki's new Cozmo robots. Cozmo is an adorable little robot that's able to explore and react to the environment, play games, and interact with people in unique ways. Priced at $179.99, Cozmo comes with a charging stand and three interactive Power Cubes that the robot can stack up, knock over, and use for games like Quick Tap and Keepaway. Cozmo rolls along on four tread-covered wheels, manipulating objects with an attached arm, while a front display lets you know just what Cozmo's feeling. Anki has designed Cozmo to have a mischievous temperament that changes over time. Each palm-sized Cosmo develops a unique personality based on daily activities and interaction. Cozmo owners are encouraged to play games and meet a series of daily goals listed in the Cozmo app to keep Cozmo healthy and happy, and over time, Cozmo will develop new capabilities and unlock new skills, furthering what Cozmo can do. At first, Cozmo might only be able to roll and stack cubes, but later, he'll learn to stack additional cubes and perform tricks like wheelies. Play also unlocks new games and activities, and additional content is added through app updates. There's also an open source Cozmo SDK that allows Cozmo to be connected to third-party APIs like Twitter, Hue, and IFTTT. Cozmo is made from more than 300 parts, with four motors and over fifty gears. A 30 fps camera equipped with facial recognition capabilities allows Cozmo to recognize different people and remember interactions

'Anki Overdrive' Bringing Modular Tracks and New Cars to AI Racing Game

Anki today announced a sequel to its innovative iOS-compatible Anki Drive slot car racing game. Called "Anki Overdrive" and set for launch in September, it will include brand new cars, a customizable track - courtesy of magnetically interlocking track pieces and "bridges" that adjust track height - and even jump ramps (via Re/code). Originally debuted on stage at WWDC 2013, Anki has slowly grown support for the original Anki Drive by adding new cars and track support but keeping the same basic static roll-out mat technology. The sequel, which the company plans to announce today at the New York Toy Fair, will retain the same basic concept of using a smartphone to control a physical toy car around a track, battling against an A.I. opponent or other players. The Anki Overdrive starter kit, which will retail for $150 and come with two cars, will include 10 modular track pieces that the company says can create up to eight different track options out of the box. They'll also be selling "expansion packs" that will give users the ability to add four way intersections, U-turns, and jumps into the mix. Those expansion packs will cost between $10 and $30, and additional cars will be around $50. The team has boosted the software component, as well. Talking to Re/code, Anki co-founder Hanns Tappeiner said when the cars interact with a new, user-made track, they'll drive slowly and cautiously as they "map" the track to their memory, after which they'll begin speeding up. Tappeiner also highlights the potential for user imagination in weaving tracks around everyday household

'Anki Drive' AI-Based Slot Car Racing Game Gains New Cars and Tracks

Anki today announced the debut of two new cars and two new tracks for its iPhone-compatible Anki Drive slot car racing game. Joining the existing four cars are Hadion and Corax, new characters that focus on speed and weaponry, respectively. Designed by Anki and Hollywood legend Harald Belker, Corax and Hadion are the newest characters available for Anki DRIVE. Hadion is built for speed and is the only car that can access Turbo Boost, which enables you to fly incredibly fast down the track. Corax is the ultimate warrior, with the option to mount multiple weapons. Watch out, he's an aggressive one!First introduced in 2013 during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Anki Drive is a unique racing game that Anki describes as a "video game in the real world." Similar to slot car racing, Anki Drive incorporates artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls, allowing two players to shoot at one another while their cars autonomously race down a vinyl track. Each of Anki's cars have their own unique name, personality, look, and statistics. While some of them offer greater acceleration speeds, others have more energy or better weaponry. The two released today expand on the abilities of the existing cars, offering Turbo Boost (Hadrion) and multiple mounted weapons (Corax). Along with the new cars, Anki is also introducing two new tracks: Crossroads and Bottleneck. Crossroads offers hard corners and a challenging intersection that requires solid timing and maneuvering skills, while Bottleneck introduces a bottleneck shape that must be overcome.

'Anki Drive' App Updated With New Weapons and Upgrades

Anki Drive, the iOS-controlled AI-based racing game that first debuted at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, got a major app update today, adding new weapons, support items, and a new upgrade system. Following the update, there are a total of 20 upgrades that can be used to customize cars, in categories like Combat, Chassis, Engine, and Energy Systems. The Anki Cars, which are largely self-operating and steer by themselves via Bluetooth, can be upgraded with different abilities and statistics that make each car unique. Additional weapons have been added as well, such as the EMP, which is used by the player to shoot other cars as they race along the track. There are two new support items, the Reverse Drive and the Kinetic Brake, which allow users to do a 180 degree turn or come to a dead stop on the track. Players are also no longer locked into specific upgrades as they were in the past and can freely choose to buy and sell upgrades. We're proud to announce a major app update to improve and enhance Anki Drive: - EXPANDED UPGRADE SYSTEMS Enter the Garage and customize the new Combat, Chassis, Engine, and Energy Systems. Choose your path, buy & sell upgrades, and level up! - NEW WEAPONS AND SUPPORT ITEMS Arm yourself with the all new EMP, Reverse Drive, Horn, and Kinetic Brake. Remember: swipe left & right on the triggers during gameplay to switch weapons. - THE ARMORY HAS MOVED Each vehicle now has it's own set of Weapons and Support Items. Configure them via the Armory in the Garage. - EARN BOUNTIES Earn greater rewards for defeating stronger

'Anki Drive' Robotic Car Game Now Available at Apple's Online and Retail Stores

The Anki Drive game first demonstrated during Apple's WWDC keynote address in June is now available exclusively on the Apple Online Store and at Apple's retail outlets, in line with last week's announcement. The game, described by Anki as a "video game in the real world", is somewhat similar to slot car racing, but uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and iPhone-based controls. The Anki Drive starter kit includes the vinyl "track" and two cars for $200. Two additional cars are available for $70 each, the red RHO, and the blue and gold KATAL. Each Anki Drive car has its own unique name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others having more energy. There are multiple gameplay modes, including multiplayer and single player modes, with cars lacking a human controller using a proprietary AI system. Anki will also be holding a series of special events at prominent Apple Retail Store locations around North America over the next few weeks, hitting San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Montreal. The Anki Drive app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Anki Drive AI-Controlled Cars Will Be Available on October 23 for $199

First introduced at WWDC, Anki's iOS-controlled AI-based racing game is set to debut later this month. Unlike standard racing toys, Anki Drive is largely self-operating and is described by the company as a "video game in the real world." The concept is similar to slot car racing, with added enhancements that include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls. The Anki cars are placed on a specially designed vinyl track and connect to an iPhone with Bluetooth-LE. Using software and tiny cameras, the cars calibrate their positions on the track and handle steering on their own. Players control the gas and the guns using an iPhone and the Anki Drive app, shooting at other cars on the track to score the highest number of hits. Hits translate to points, and points can be used to both upgrade cars and weapons. Each of the Anki Drive cars has its own unique name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others have more energy. Engadget went hands-on with the Anki Drive and has a description of the gameplay:As soon as you're done, you can simply set the cars on the track and away they'll zoom; there's no need for you to hit an accelerate button at all. Indeed, the cars will even know just where to turn. We wanted to see if we could mess it up, so we picked up a car and turned it the other way around to see what would happen. The answer: It just flipped around and went back on the right direction. So if the cars can drive themselves, what do they need you for? Well, you can affect the race by

Anki Debuts 'Anki Drive' Intelligent Robotic Car Game

On stage at WWDC today, Tim Cook stepped aside to allow app developer Anki to debut a new product, known as Anki Drive. According to Cook, "Anki uses iOS devices and the iOS platform to bring artificial intelligence and robotics into our daily lives." The product uses smart robotic toy cars powered by Bluetooth to drive on a track. The cars know their location and they are able to react to their surroundings in real time. They can see the track up to 500 times a second to analyze their surroundings and they are equipped to handle a multitude of situations on the printed race track. Players can control the cars via the iPad or the iPhone through an accompanying app. The full Anki Drive experience, which is described as a "video game in the real world," is coming to Apple Stores this fall, while the app is available for download today.