Home Sci-Tech It’s hard not to love Anki’s adorable Cozmo robot

It’s hard not to love Anki’s adorable Cozmo robot

11 min read

As someone raised on science fiction and the dream of advanced artificially intelligent robots, I couldn't help but fall for Anki's Cozmo. But really, that's not much of a surprise. The tiny bot already won me over when I first saw it in action back in June, and since then it's been one of my most anticipated gadgets this year. Having a robot pal with the spunk and wit of a Pixar character simply feels more exciting than the prospect of yet another smartphone. And after playing with Cozmo for a few days, I'm even further enamored with the little guy. It's bursting full of potential, though the high $180 price means it's not for everyone just yet.

                         <p>You might already be familiar with <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2015/07/02/anki-overdrive-blends-robotic-racing-with-video-game-hooks/" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Anki&#039;s smartphone-powered remote control cars</a>, but Cozmo is something else entirely. Rather than just being a competitive toy, it&#039;s a robotic companion that gets smarter over time. Most importantly, it&#039;s full of personality. Cozmo&#039;s diminutive size, expressive LED eyes and boisterous voice (which harkens back to Star Wars droids like R2-D2 and Pixar&#039;s Wall-E) make it instantly endearing. It moves around with tiny tank treads (a subtle nod to <em>Short Circuit&#039;s</em> Johnny 5) and it interacts with the environment using a single articulating arm, which you&#039;ll eventually be able to swap that out for other appendages. There&#039;s also a camera that sits right below its eyes that lets it recognize people and its surrounding environment.</p>  <div class="vdb_player vdb_56e83c06e4b01fe390d9dadd564f3144ff690c0a7c285e51"></div>  <p>Setting up Cozmo is fairly straightforward: Place it on its charger, install the app and connect to it using the app. You&#039;ll be asked to connect to Cozmo&#039;s WiFi network during the setup process, which is something you might have to do several times if you have to install any updates. While the robot itself is kid-friendly, you&#039;ll definitely need a patient adult to deal with the initial setup. I also had to type in a lengthy password to connect to Cozmo&#039;s WiFi network the first time, but hopefully that&#039;s something that&#039;ll be simplified by the time it reaches consumers.</p>  <p>Once you&#039;re connected, Cozmo &quot;wakes up,&quot; leaves his charger and starts to explore his environment like a curious child. From the start, it&#039;s clear that Anki paid plenty attention to the smaller details of Cozmo&#039;s behavior. Former Pixar animator Carlos Baena heads up the company&#039;s animation team, which uses Maya 3D software to design how the robot moves and interacts. In many ways, Cozmo feels like a cartoon character who&#039;s invaded the real world, which goes a long way towards making it likable. You&#039;ll hear lots of impassioned &quot;whoa!&quot; shouts as it moves about and &quot;awww&quot; groans when it encounters obstacles. Pick it up, and Cozmo will start to act frustrated like an overzealous puppy.</p>  <p>At one point, Cozmo fell off a coffee table and said &quot;ow!&quot; — to the amazement of several Engadget editors. It feels more like a robotic pet than a gadget that&#039;s been programmed to be likable. You&#039;ll easily lose plenty of time watching it wander around and play with its block toys.</p>  <p>Cozmo is powered entirely by its mobile app, which also plays a soundtrack for your play sessions. The home screen shows off the current Cozmo apps you have installed, a collection of daily goals, and the amount of &quot;bits&quot; and &quot;sparks&quot; you&#039;ve earned through your play sessions. You&#039;ll use the bits to unlock more apps and upgrades for Cozmo, while the sparks are used to unlock new tricks. Basically, they&#039;re a way to gamify Cozmo&#039;s progress from a bumbling child to a slightly more intelligent being.</p>  <p>At first, you&#039;re guided to the &quot;Meet Cozmo&quot; app to have the robot learn your face. After typing in your name, you just have to stare at Cozmo for 10 to 15 seconds in a well-lit room. Once it&#039;s captured your mug, it also says your name aloud a few times in its adorable robot voice. And yes, it even managed to phonetically say my name (better than many humans, I might add). Afterwards, Cozmo will recognize you and repeat your name whenever you play with it.</p>  <p>Once it knew who I was, I challenged the bot to a game of &quot;Quick Tap.&quot; It&#039;s pretty much what it sounds like: With one of Cozmo&#039;s blocks in front of it, and another in front of me, we raced to see who could tap our blocks the fastest when they lit up with the same color. At first, Cozmo was slow and would get frustrated easily. But after a few rounds, it got faster and didn&#039;t mind gloating whenever it won. Anki actually programmed Cozmo to be a bit of a jerk, and that in a strange way makes it even more endearing.  </p><a href=https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/14/anki-cozmo-robot/>Original Article</a>

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