Anki Vector Robot


When I stumbled across this, I was surprised no one had mentioned it around here. This project is basically a tamagotchi on steroids, brought to you by Anki for the low, low price of 200 clams.

No smart home integration as of yet, but sounds like it is something they want to do. Seems the plan is to get the SDK into people’s hands and let the community create new functionality going forward.


I came very close to buying Anki’s last robot, Cozmo, as a gift for my nieces, but the more I read about it the more it seemed like it would get old pretty quick, and while they did add more functionality over time, it never really grew beyond a (cute) gimmick. I suspect Vector may be similar (though presumably a bit better) — it looks almost identical, build-wise. That’s certainly the impression I got from the Vergecast, which had a segment on it the other day.


I thought it looked cute when I first heard of it, but after watching this segment from The Verge last week, also not really a must buy:

My daughter wants one though.


Some of the stuff they’re doing is interesting, and kind of cool that they’re doing so much vision processing in a tiny package that is… oh, it’s $250. Well that’s kind of less impressive then.

It’s still interesting, but these things always end up being interesting for a day or so, and then they are boring. Things like the vision capabilities are interesting, and potentially powerful, but until someone develops some more complex higher level AI to sit on top of the low level sensory recognition, there’s just not that much going on in terms of actual manifested behavior.


Yeah, from reading more about this, it seems the main change, behaviour wise, is slapping on an basic digital assistant, which is literally the last thing I want in a robot pet. I already have an Echo Dot and a smartphone with Google Assistant, why on earth would I want a $250 timer-setter? Hopefully it’s a stepping stone to richer voice interaction, but I’m more than content to wait for that to manifest before paying money.


Can it traverse the stairs and grab me a beer out of the fridge? No? Then what’s the point? :)


My kids have a Cozmo and enjoy playing games with it. My impression is similar, that this Vector is a Cozmo with a digital assistant bolted on and the ability to park itself to charge. I need a bit more innovation to buy the next Cozmo iteration.


As someone who always kinda wanted a Cozmo, this is also tempting, though everything you’re all saying about how it’s probably just cool for a day or so sounds likely.


My reaction was pretty much the same as most of you. Not, “I need this” but “it seems kinda neat”. @Ginger_Yellow that was exactly my take on what it can do at the moment…it’s a glorified personal assistant like Alexa or Siri with more of a personality added on. Granted, it can move around and stuff, but it seems like they aren’t really leveraging that for very much, at least at the moment.


It is not like Alexa or Siri either. From the videos, is much more limited in what it can do. So it shouldn’t be bought as an Echo stand in.


My daughters are obsessed with robots, I’m a python programmer, and Vector has a python API, so I kickstarted it. Seems like a good way to stoke their interests. They spent last week disassembling a bunch of used electronic toys that they bought with my sister at 2nd hand stores and then rewiring them to do funky stuff with the LEDs, etc.


You guys will have a lot of fun with that, I think. My guess is that’s the best use of this, for someone that wants to mess around with programming it.


Hmmm I’m looking for a robot a bit like Anki Vector for my cat to play with and for us to be able to remote control and view (the robot, not the cat!). I like that it returns to its base to charge but it sounds like it would get lost around the ground floor of our house.
At the moment we have fun controlling a sphero ball around the floor and the cat chases it a lot. But that is not autonomous and doesn’t self charge.
Is Vector as good as it gets ?


Sphero has a new one out with more sensors and a display which sounds pretty good as a Vector substitute, though I don’t think it’s self-charging. You can give it various IFTTT-style behaviours. I’m thinking of getting one myself if it’s reasonably priced when it comes out in the UK. I particularly like the way the programming interface lets you toggle between Scratch and Javascript.


I might think about picking up something like this if it weren’t stuck on the ground. A bot that could ascend to desks, shelves, etc. would be amazing.


I got to play with some Spheros at our recent summer professional advancement institute for our teacher Fellows and it was honestly pretty awesome, though the older units we had would come uncalibrated for no apparent reason sometimes.


I have one. It keeps my children and my mother-in-law very well entertained. I consider it more of a companion toy than a utility robot. Anyhow, they’ve released the alpha SDK so I expect the coming months/years will see some more interesting developments. I received Vector about 2 months ago, since I was a Kickstarter backer. It’s improved quite a bit since then, but remains largely just a fun toy for the kids. I never really expected much else, though.


Well done, Anki. With this spam campaign you have now removed any desire I might have had to buy one of your devices.



In a teary all-hands meeting on Monday morning, CEO Boris Sofman told his staff they would be terminated on Wednesday and that close to 200 employees would be paid a week of severance, according to people familiar with the matter. Sofman had told employees a few days earlier that the company was scrambling to find more money after a new round of financing fell through at the last minute, imperiling the company’s future.

The company said in a statement to Recode that it was left “without significant funding to support a hardware and software business and bridge to our long-term product roadmap.”

“Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” a company spokesperson said. “A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement. We’re doing our best to take care of every single employee and their families, and our management team continues to explore all options available.”


That’s too bad. My kids have enjoyed their Anki stuff.