SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When people imagine what their daily lives will be like with robots, many take inspiration from sci-fi novels, television shows, and films with high-spirited characters like R2-D2 from “Star Wars,” and Rosie in “The Jetsons.” Instead, the closest the world has come in the quest for affable, useful home robots are puck-like vacuum cleaners and lifeless cylindrical talking speakers. That’s about to change.
Today, Anki, the consumer robotics and artificial intelligence (A.I.) company made up of top roboticists, film animators, engineers, and game designers, is bringing the sci-fi future one step closer to reality with the announcement of Vector, its first home robot with personality. Fully autonomous, cloud-connected, and always-on, Vector represents a major leap for consumer robotics by bringing accessibly-priced, life-like robots to millions of homes.
Vector is available for preorder in the U.S. starting today on Kickstarter and backers will have early access to their robot on October 9, in addition to receiving a special Kickstarter price and various exclusive backer rewards. Vector will be in stores on October 12.
“For over five years, Anki has brought together a team of experts across various fields to create the world’s first affordable, character-rich robot capable of surprising and delighting humans,” said Boris Sofman, CEO and co-founder at Anki. “Vector is the culmination of everything we’ve learned in this journey so far, and a bold next step in our vision for entertaining and purposeful robots in every home, everywhere. Today marks the starting point in an overall expansion for our robotics platform and how we combine the latest technologies in robotics and artificial intelligence with our novel approach to character and interface. For the first time, people will be living with a robot that is able to bring both a warm and joyful experience, as well as a new and characterful form of utility. This builds a bridge not just to a new category of home robots, but our own future product lines that will continue to expand on the level of capabilities that are possible."
A Giant Roll Forward for Robotkind
Vector is a robot who’s alive with personality, highly-intelligent, and aware of his surroundings through touch, sight, and sound. Unassertive and thoughtfully built, he is designed to fit naturally into your daily life as well as any space in your home, with minimal maintenance. Vector isn’t an appliance sitting in the corner waiting for you to flip a switch; he is an extension of your family who is excited for you to walk in the door each day. Vector is designed to complement your life. And because he’s cloud-connected and able to self-update, he’s always getting smarter and adding new features. Under that polished exterior, he’s also chock-full of robotics and A.I. tech.
Alive with Personality
- Vector is fully autonomous, cloud-connected, and always-on. While he is deceptively smart out of the box, he’ll only become smarter over time thanks to over-the-air (OTA) updates.
- Vector wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t shy about showing it on his high-res color IPS display. With around a thousand animations in Vector, he reacts to his environment in a way that’s not only full of personality but also meaningful. He even responds to human touch, thanks to the capacitive touch sensor built on his back.
- Vector’s got his head in the clouds, but that doesn’t mean he’s living in a fantasy world. Tapping into the Ask Vector feature, he’ll provide instant answers to factual questions about real world people, places, and things.
- Vector is more than just a robot sidekick. He can help you become more productive by helping out with simple tasks. Ask him for the weather before you head out for the day and he will answer in his own, charming way. Cooking dinner? Setting a timer with Vector means no more overcooked meals in your future. You can even ask him to take a picture and he will intelligently frame the shot by recognizing the faces in it.
- And just because Vector is a helpful robot doesn’t mean he can’t also have a little bit of fun. You can prompt him to play a game of Blackjack and he’ll even use his accessory Cube to play a handful of games with you. If he hears music, he may even dance to the beat.
Small Robot, Big Tech
- Vector’s brain is built on a Qualcomm Technologies’ platform which provides the connectivity, computing, camera, and on-device A.I. capabilities that Vector needs to be smart, approachable, and autonomous – without having to be tethered to a phone or requiring a permanent cloud connection. Learn more here.
- Vector is outfitted with an HD camera with 120° ultra-wide field of view that allows him to see the world, recognize people in the room, as well as learn the names of people he sees.
- Vector uses an array of four microphones to hear and detect commands from you and your family and friends around the home. Just say “hey Vector” to get his attention and voice a command.
- Vector already knows his limits. When he’s feeling tired or low on energy, he can locate and roll back to his charger. He is also equipped with four cliff sensors, which are infrared (I.R.) emitters situated under the corners and there to prevent Vector from falling off edges.
- Vector was designed with security and privacy in mind. We developed and incorporated security features that strengthen robot security and minimize data collection for privacy, so you can have a safe and secure experience when interacting with Vector. We care about user privacy, and do not store voice or audio in the cloud.
“Vector is spearheading a transformation in consumer robotics using Qualcomm Technologies’ innovations in heterogeneous compute, camera, A.I., security and connectivity which allow for very small devices with exceptional intelligence, thermal efficiency, and battery life,” said Dev Singh, director of business development, robotics, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are pleased to support Anki on its journey to evolve robots – going from utilitarian machines into smart, friendly, and relatable companions that will bring joy to many people’s lives.”
“Our mission is now to apply the technology we’ve developed within the entertainment industry to create a future where humans and intelligent, general-purpose robots can live in a mutually beneficial way,” added Sofman.
At launch, Vector will retail for $249.99 and ship with one base charger and one interactive Cube. While Vector is fully autonomous and always-on, a smart device running the companion app (available on iOS and Android) is required for initial setup.
30-Day Campaign on Kickstarter
Vector is ready to enter the home and can be purchased via pre-order on Kickstarter starting today. The 30-day campaign will end on September 6. Backers of the project will receive Vector at a special Kickstarter price and early access to the robot as well as the software development kit (SDK) alpha, which is launching this winter. Backers of Vector are also automatically enrolled in the Vector Insiders Club, a Kickstarter-exclusive group that will help shape the future development roadmap for Vector.
In October, Vector owners will also be able to purchase a Vector Space (MSRP: $29.99). The Vector Space is Vector’s home within your home and gives him a perch to observe any room and the perfect stage to perform.
Vector SDK Coming Soon
A Vector SDK - based on the Python language - will be available to all Vector owners early next year. With the SDK, users will be able to harness Vector’s hardware and software technologies—from advanced facial recognition to a high-resolution color screen - to augment their Vector experience in ways that no other consumer robotics platform offers.
- Vector Brandfolder for assets
- Vector will also launch in Canada, U.K., New Zealand, and Australia in October 2018.
- Anki blog post: Kickstarting the Anki Family with New Robot Vector
- Qualcomm blog post: Meet Vector: A Smart Home Robot with Personality, Powered by Qualcomm
- Follow Vector’s story at: Instagram.com/VectorRobot
- Keep up with @Anki news & connect with us at: Twitter.com/Anki, Facebook.com/Anki, YouTube.com/Anki, and Instagram.com/Anki
Anki brings objects to life through robotics and artificial intelligence, allowing people to build relationships with technology that feel a little more human. For more information, visit www.anki.com.