Anki, the robotics company obsessed with making the cutest robots in history, has just unveiled their newest addition to their family of functional companions. Meet Vector, the robot “for grown ups.” Vector is a follow up to Anki’s previously child-suited robot, Cosmo. He runs on artificial intelligence and is meant to be an “always on” companion that sits on your desk or countertop, maneuvering objects and listening for commands.
So here’s where Vector shines: It’s a more functional and personal form of Alexa. A camera used for sensor also allows it to read your face and respond with bleeps, bloops, and funny facial expressions. It adds character to what normal smart speakers lack. You can ask it simple things, like weather and location instruction, but let’s not forget he’s being marketed as a “companion” not a robot.
You can ask Vector to give you a fist bump if you need some contact. If Vector screws up, his eyes will look sad or confused. That’s because his animations were designed by a lead Pixar animator to have more character. Sure, he speaks in a robotic tone, but his eyes say more than his actual voice does. Just watch the videos and see the fluidity in his eye movements. That’s because Anki wants you to make eye contact with the robot when you’re speaking. Most of us Alexa owners don’t even look at the speaker when commanding it to do something, and Vector aims to change that.
But does Vector have a place on today’s market? Are people looking for at-home companions that exceed the human-like personalities of Alex and Google Home? You can back Vector on Kickstarter if you think so!