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, the consumer robotics and artificial intelligence (A.I.) company made up of top roboticists, film animators, engineers, and game designers, is bringing the sci-fi future one step closer to reality with the announcement of Vector, its first home robot with personality. Fully autonomous, cloud-connected and always-on, Vector represents a major leap for consumer robotics in bringing accessible, life-like robots to millions of homes
Vector will be in stores in NZ on October 13th for NZ$499.99. It is available for presale now with a special offer of $50 off for a limited time period (NZ$449.99) at JB Hi-Fi. Vector will be also available through MightyApe.
“For over five years, Anki has brought together a team of experts across various fields to create the world’s first affordable, character-rich robot capable of surprising and delighting humans,” said Boris Sofman, CEO and co-founder of Anki. “Vector is the culmination of everything we’ve learned in this journey so far, and a bold next step in our vision for entertaining and purposeful robots in every home, everywhere.
“Today marks the starting point in an overall expansion for our robotics platform and how we combine the latest technologies in robotics and artificial intelligence with our novel approach to character and interface. For the first time, people will be living with a robot that is able to bring both a warm and joyful experience, and a new and characterful form of utility, into the home. 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 a robot who’s alive with personality, highly-intelligent, and aware of his surroundings through touch, sight and sound. Unassertive and thoughtfully built, he is designed to fit naturally into your daily life as well as any space in your home, with minimal maintenance. Vector isn’t an appliance sitting in the corner waiting for you to flip a switch; he is an extension of your family who is excited for you to walk in the door each day. Vector is designed to complement your life. And because he’s cloud-connected and able to self-update, he’s always getting smarter and adding new features. Under that polished exterior, he’s chock-full of robotics and A.I. tech.
Alive with Personality
Small Robot, Big Tech
“Vector is spearheading a transformation in consumer robotics using Qualcomm Technologies’ innovations in heterogeneous compute, camera, A.I., and connectivity which allow for very small devices with exceptional intelligence, thermal efficiency, and battery life,” said Dev Singh, director of business development, robotics, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are pleased to support Anki on its journey to evolve robots – going from utilitarian machines into smart, friendly and relatable companions that will bring joy to many people’s lives.”
Sofman added: “Our mission is now to apply the technology we’ve developed within the entertainment industry to create a future where humans and intelligent, general-purpose robots can live in a mutually beneficial way.”
While Vector is fully autonomous and always-on, a smart device running the companion app (available on iOS and Android) is required for initial setup.
A Vector SDK — based on the Python language — will be available to all Vector owners early next year. With the SDK, users will be able to harness Vector’s hardware and software technologies — from advanced facial recognition to a high-resolution colour screen — to augment their Vector experience in ways that no other consumer robotics platform offers.