Anki Vector is a highly advanced 'toy' that in fact sits somewhere between an AI assistant on wheels, a STEM educational product and an actual toy, that kids will like. It packs in an awful lot of tech for its price but that price is still, understandably, quite high. However for today you can get Anki Vector for £149, which is £100 off the usual RRP (opens in new tab).
Its predecessor, Cozmo, was the biggest selling 'premium' toy of last Christmas. Okay, parents weren't fighting each other in the aisles over trying to buy the last one, but you could still save yourself a lot of grief by buying one today at this lower price.
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Anki already had massive success with Overdrive, the 21st century Scalextric, and Cozmo, the loveable robot forklift. Vector, clearly, is a very close relative of Cozmo but adds more sophisticated features, primarily his AI and voice control abilities.
In theory, at least, he will happily pootle about on his own, scanning his living space with an HD camera, developing a unique personality based on what happens to him, recognising new people and learning their names and answering questions such as 'what is the square root of 36?'
As such, Vector is a great gift for kids, playing games with them and teaching the magic of being able to set a timer. However, he's also a cool pressie for any adult tech head. Anki likes to add new skills to its products and Vector could, in time, become something a bit like Alexa on wheels, with a more adorable personality. Although Alexa, to be fair, will always be in way less danger of being assaulted by your cat, or getting trapped under the sofa.
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Anki Vector: more than a toy
He's more like a quirkily charming gadget, really. Just check out this internal spec. The guys at Anki all worked at places such as Google, and you can tell.
Qualcomm 200 Platform allows computing 'at a smartphone level'.
Capacitive Touch Sensor – helps him sense being touched and held
Beamforming 4-Microphone Array – allows him to recognise natural speech and where the sound is coming from (ie: he turns to face you when you speak to him)
Ultra-Wide HD Camera – helps him detect motion, identify people by facial recognition, and take photos and videos on your comand
4 Drop Sensors – detects edges to help him avoid falls
Infrared Laser Scanner – lets him track distance and map environments
6-Axis Inertial Measurement Unit – so he knows when he’s picked up or moved
High-Res Colour IPS Display – helps him convey a wide range of emotions
Wi-Fi-Enabled Cloud Connection – brings him new capabilities
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