Could Anki's new Cozmo robot toy be the next Furby?By Shawn Knight
Anki has been wowing crowds at Apple events with its intelligent Drive and Overdrive race car toys since 2013. For the San Francisco-based AI startup's second act, they're turning to a more traditional robot toy that's unlike anything you've seen before.
Cozmo is a small, unassuming forklift-looking toy that comes to life when paired with an Android or iOS device. Armed with an OLED display for a face and a small camera for vision, Cozmo can interact with those in the room and even play games with you.
That is, when he is awake. While asleep (charging), the robot emanates a subtle snoring sound.
Boris Sofman, Anki founder and CEO, described Cozmo to Polygon as a physical character in which they wanted to bring a level of personality and emotional depth and behavioral intelligence to that just has never been possible outside of the screen. The inspiration for its personality, he added, came from toddlers and pets with the sort of curiosity you'd expect from a kitten.
Whether in free-form play or in a game with defined rules, Cozmo becomes more intelligent over time. The mini robot works on a skill tree, if you will, as the more you play with him, the more new games and characteristics you can unlock. How users interact with him will determine which skills are unlocked, an interesting twist.
Anki is now accepting pre-orders for Cozmo priced at $179.99 which includes the robot, its charging dock and three interactive block toys. Look for it to launch this October.