So how do you make the perfect robot? If you're a designer or engineer working at Californian robotics firm Anki, the answer is, "You don't." Instead, the firm has created a purposely flawed little robot creation that uses smart AI to create a machine with personality and quirks.
The company's latest creation, the Anki Cozmo, boasts a striking resemblance to a certain ultra cute chappy from Pixar film Wall-E and that similarity isn't coincidence either. Two of the designers who worked on him were animators at Pixar so it's clear the firm is looking to capture that sense of childlike wonder that make's those characters so memorable.
The Cozmo has been designed to work as a smart AI that learns as it explores the environment around it - the face-like LED screen on the front animating into different expressions depending on what or who it's looking at. For instance, it will instantly recognise people it's met before yet act shy and tentative around those it hasn't. It also makes plenty of chirps and noises like BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making it even cuter.
It'll even 'snore' when plugged into the supplied charing dock and muck about with the 'smart cubes' included with the robot. Anki wanted to build on its experience working with intelligent remote control cars and create something funny, silly and memorable. It has a retractable arm that it uses to interact with those smart cubes, and can play games with you as well as stack and knock down objects around it.
The Cozmo has also been designed with a modular spin - so elements such as that mechanised arm can be replaced with other compatible parts, giving users (including the little ones) a chance to get their hands around the fascinating world of robotics.
You can order your very own Anki Cozmo for $180 (£135) today, with shipping expected to take place sometime in October.
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