Feedback Loup: Cozmo by Anki
From time to time, we’ll review new products that are relevant to our focus themes: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics. Our Feedback Loup series provides real customer feedback on the technologies shaping our future. We hope that our work helps, in some small way, to bring our focus themes to life and even accelerate their adoption. Cozmo is a great example of how real consumer AI and robotics are today.
Yesterday, my kids and I spent some time getting to know Cozmo, a robot toy by Anki. Three scientists from the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University co-founded the company and launched at WWDC in 2013. With their first product, Anki Drive, they brought AI and robotics to Apple’s keynote stage in the form of toy cars that are autonomously and remotely controlled. Anki released Cozmo in October 2016, and we’ve been eager to see what the latest in consumer, artificially-intelligent robotics has to offer. The bottom line: AI-driven robots aren’t a sci-fi future, and they aren’t just for big tech companies with billion dollar R&D budgets. They’re a consumer reality, and they can be a lot of fun.
Cozmo comes to life in his charger, his quirky eyes light up, blink a few times, then he comes out to play. Once you’ve got the Cozmo app downloaded, there’s a short sequence of setup and instructional steps facilitated in the app. Before you realize it, you’re playing with a new friend that’s just learned your name.
All this seems natural because Cozmo lives up to his tagline: Big brain. Bigger personality. He clearly expresses frustration when he loses a game, excitement when you want to play again, and cleverness in the heat of battle. He’s glad to meet you and sad to see you go. Cozmo’s personality is driven by a combination of artificial intelligence, robotics, and strong connection to a mobile device or interaction and control. The AI is timely, responsive and can be seen mostly in his eyes and during gameplay. The robotics add a strong physical response to the emotion created by the AI. But all of this impressive technology becomes irrelevant to the human counterpart as the interactions become more about the fun of being recognized and called by name or the frustration of getting outmatched by a robot in a matching game. The real magic of Cozmo is that he’s relational, breaking the stereotypes of robots and their place in society.
Over the next several decades, the combination of artificial intelligence and robotics will enrich our relationships with machines. Cozmo is one of the many steps we see being taken today, leading us towards this amazing future. We’re encouraged to see that these technologies are already moving into consumer products, and, therefore, everyday life – not just in autonomous driving projects or robotic manufacturing lines. AI-driven robotics are, in some ways, already becoming mainstream. Cozmo just had to introduce himself.
Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics. From time to time, we will write about companies that are in our portfolio. Content on this site including opinions on specific themes in technology, market estimates, and estimates and commentary regarding publicly traded or private companies is not intended for use in making investment decisions. We hold no obligation to update any of our projections. We express no warranties about any estimates or opinions we make.