In case you missed it, the robots are here.
No, not the apocalyptic hordes of artificially intelligent machines that some believe are destined to enslave or eradicate us (hello, Boston Dynamics!), but the everyday devices and companions that are rapidly becoming commonplace. After decades of lofty sci-fi-inspired promises, robots like iRobot’s Roomba vacuums and the many iterations of the Sony Aibo robodog are slowly carving out their places in our domestic lives. Even Amazon’s Alexa is arguably a disembodied robot.
A new entry into the field is Anki’s Vector. Vector is a small tabletop robot with big features. First and foremost, unlike other “robots” like those from Sphero or even WowWee, Vector doesn’t need a smartphone to control it. It’s fully autonomous and loaded with sensors, enabling it to interact with and learn from its environment from the get-go.
Vector is another milestone for Anki, a company that’s had one of the most interesting stories in tech. Unknown to the world before its splash launch at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2013, the robotics company has come out with several products, including intelligent toy race cars and a previous, more limited robot, Cozmo.
Where does the robustly funded company go next? And when will it move its robotics business into something more capable (i.e. not a toy). Anki CEO Boris Sofman dropped by Mashable’s MashTalk podcast this week to give us the full story of his young company, why it’s so focused on the “personality” of its robots, and what he sees in the future for domestic robots and AI.
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