Anki introduces Cozmo, the first pet robot for the family
Anki introduces Cozmo, the first pet robot for the family. Image credit: Anki.

San Francisco-based American robotics company, Anki, first announced its project for an AI pet toy earlier in June of this year. On October 16, the little robot, called Cozmo, will be available for purchase on Amazon, with the pre-order price currently at $179.99.

The promotional video, published by the company on October 5, states the little autonomous toy “explores, remembers and reacts to the environment.” Cozmo was designed to interact with its owners, playing games with them and learning from the interactions.

The purchase of a Cozmo will grant users one unit of the pet robot, three Power Cubes, which he uses to perform various activities and play most games, and a charger. After buying it, users must install the Cozmo app on their phones.

What can Cozmo do?

Cozmo’s official website claims he becomes smarter the more the user plays with him. Whenever its owner opens the app, they will see its ‘Daily Goals,’ different activities that users must complete to keep him ‘healthy.’

The tasks users complete with their Cozmo will change him accordingly, making each little robot one of a kind. Completion of various tasks unlocks ‘Core Upgrades’ within the app, skills Cozmo can learn to perform other activities.

The app will also notify users when Cozmo wants to play with them, giving the toy a special autonomous feeling. The website states that he is ‘self-aware’ and will actively seek to engage with its owner.

Cozmo’s features, build, and origin

The small robot consists of a compact frame which makes it look like a small truck. He has no arms or legs but treadmill-like wheels it uses to move around, and a lift to grab objects. Most recent reviews state its most compelling feature are its expressive LED eyes.

Despite its modest size, the Cozmo contains more than three hundred pieces that encompass its frame. Its motion power comes from four small engines and more than fifty gears. He records the user through a VGA camera with facial-recognition software.

Cozmo’s Software Development Kit (or SDK) is already available for download on its official website. The bundle allows potentially interested software engineers to tap into various advanced functions and improve Cozmo’s future skills.

The SDK is open source and works (virtually) with any programming language, but downloads with Python by default.

Source: Anki