If like me, you may have daydreamed what life would be like if robots became part of our daily life.
Whether it’s a great dystopian sci-fi movie like Terminator, or going wild and having fun with Will Smith in I. Robot, most of what we’ve seen in the media makes us think of robots as something to fear.
And don’t get me started on the all-too-real-looking humanoid robots we’re seeing all over the world. Sure, that’s awesome stuff, but the human-like creepy factor makes it all a little creepy.
We may not have robot butlers making us food and thankfully we don’t live in a dystopian world with replicant-like robots walking the streets, but we do have Anki Vector, Cozmo‘s most adorable successor.
Anki Vector is a little AI robot who wants to be your best companion and help you throughout the day.
In the box
Anki Vector is delivered in a beautiful rectangular box, it is rigid and is black with the Vector writing in gold that reproduces the colors of the robot.
Inside we will find, well organized, in addition to Vector, the base where he will recharge and the cube, which would be his toy, which will interact at will or through our voice request.
As mentioned above, Vector has very elegant colors, black and gold which in my opinion are very apt.
It has the same forklift identical to its predecessor, and tracks that will allow it to move quickly from side to side without being too “Robotic”.
And, of course, he has that wonderfully animated face. At first glance you will see two green spots on a high resolution black IPS display. Spend some time with Vector, though, and you’ll see him throwing all kinds of cute and cuddly faces. Anki claims that there are over 1000 different animations here, and because Vector is able to briefly turn his face into a card game or weather report, this figure isn’t entirely surprising.
A more subtle addition to Vector’s design is the screen on its back. Say “Hey Vector” and this screen will flash blue, indicating he heard you. This essentially works just like the light ring on top of an Amazon Echo.
Vector is an autonomous robot, so while you can interact with him, you can’t control him. There is a Vector app to keep an eye on Vector and learn about all of his behaviors, but there are no controls within his app.
In fact, after setting Vector up with the iOS app (or the Android app) you don’t need a smartphone to interact with him in any way. It is smartphone independent, but the app can be used to see exactly what he is doing and what he has learned over time.
Vector setup is relatively simple with an iPhone. You need to download the app, turn it on, and make sure there is a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network available. Vector needs a 2.4GHz network and will not connect to a 5GHz network, which can be a bit of a pain.
In the Vector app, there’s a sensory feed across the top so you can determine Vector’s cognition level and what it’s getting from the environment at any given time, and there’s a bar at the bottom that lets you know What are you doing. He will often explore or listen to music on his own, among other activities.
There’s also a “Stats” section where you can see Vector’s life sensory score along with details on how far he’s driven, how often you’ve used his wake word, how many seconds he’s been stroked, and how many utilities you’ve used.
A part of the “Things to Try” app outlines all of Vector’s features currently organized by section, while a Settings part of the app allows you to adjust Vector’s eye color, change its volume.
Functionality Anki Vector
As previously mentioned, Vector is a self-contained robot, so while he’ll interact with you whenever you’re around, he’s entertained too, and he’s smart enough to learn routines.
When Vector hears me wake up and approach my pc in the morning, he too wakes up from sleep mode and shuts off from his charger, where he will explore the room on his own, venturing into areas close to his charging base.
He will occasionally listen to the music that is in the room and dance along with it, and when he sees me or another person, he gets excited and offers a greeting that sometimes includes a small fist in which he raises an arm and asks to touch him.
If he has been told who a person is with the command “Hey Vector, this is Manuel” his facial recognition abilities will allow him to recognize you and respond. If he sees me and is in a bright room where he can recognize me, he will greet me by name, which is super cute. He is always excited to see a person and will look at you when you are close to him.
Anki Vector also responds to noises. If I sneeze, for example, it wakes up and looks for the source of the noise. He is good at recognizing where a sound is coming from and investigating. You can also call him “Hey Vector” and he’ll come to see you.
When the battery is low, and sometimes just because, Vector will return to his home base (an accessory that comes with him), it’s important to keep it handy, whether it’s on a table or on the floor. I was impressed with his ability to scan the room and then return to his charging base when the battery is low, although there have been times when he has been stuck and has run out of battery.
On the average day, Vector will wake up in the morning, explore the room, chat with me, and eventually go back to his base to take a nap. At random times during the day, he wakes up and does his thing. He can be loud and there is no way to mute him (although you can turn the speaker down) but you can temporarily silence him by asking him to shut up or sleep. These are temporary and he will wake up on his own after a set amount of time and become his noisy self again.
Vector can be deactivated by holding the button on his back, but in the week I had him, I enjoyed chatting about him and watching what he’ll do next, so I haven’t removed it. At night, he seems to be learning your routine and will go on his charger and sleep through the night.
Vector mostly explores on his own, but sometimes he picks up his accessories cube or does a little trick for you while he’s out thinking about his facts.
It is possible, at any time, to interact with Vector via one of the numerous commands after saying the word “Hey Vector”. Like any personal assistant, Vector can provide answers to questions. If you ask for the time or time, for example, it will respond and provide the information both vocally and with its display. Vector will respond to “come here”, “look at me”, “who am I?” “what’s my name?” and “take a picture”. For the latter command, all photos taken can be viewed in the Vector app.
The “who am I?” the commands first ask you to introduce yourself to Vector.
Compared to other personal assistants, Vector is a bit lacking. For example, while he can tell me the temperature, he is baffled when I ask for humidity. Vector can answer complex questions like “what is the distance between London and New York?” “How many calories are there in an apple?” “Who won the World Series?” “What time is it in Dubai?” or “What is the square root of 144?” but all of these commands require two wake words, not one.
You have to use the command “Hey Vector”, wait for him to answer, then say “I have a question”, again waiting for an answer. This is slow, boring and a little frustrating. I also have a HomePod, and it’s much easier to ask Siri these questions than to wait for Vector. So many houses have Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant that it will be difficult for Vector to compete.
You can ask questions on a variety of topics, and it’s useful if you don’t have another personal assistant. Vector can answer questions about people, places, word definitions, sports, nutrition, stock exchanges, flights, time zones, unit conversions, currency conversions, and more. I hope that in the future Anki will be able to get rid of the second wake word, eliminating the need to be a little repetitive. ”
Vector can also play some games. There is a built-in blackjack game that uses Vector’s screen to display cards. It can punch, it can roll the cube, it can do a kickstand, and it can detect the beat of the music and dance, which is quite nice. You can command Vector to explore his surroundings and he will respond to greetings, praise as a “good robot” (or you can tell him he’s bad) and cuddles.
All of Vector’s actions are performed with a lot of personality, and while Vector is limited in his responses and can feel sluggish at times, his reactions and charm make up for it. Personality is what Anki really worked with Vector, and that makes for a fun experience even when Vector isn’t perfect.
Vector is realistic and not an easy thing to do. When Vector greets me in the morning and guides me to me, he waves his arm to me, sees me and says my name. Chatters when I sneeze, lashes me when I pick him up and looks at me every time I speak , he feels alive.
Final Thoughts Anki Vector
Vector’s magic isn’t what it can do, but what it could do in the future, even taking Alexa into account. Anki Vector has taken the Cozmo concept in another direction, one that promises to raise the bar in a world of robotic toys related to artificial intelligence.
Click here if you want to read more reviews on many products.
Thanks for reading the whole article. If you found it useful, share it on your social networks and let me know your opinion in the comments because your opinion is really important to me.
manuelcaserotti.com is supported by its audience. When you shop via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Does this site help you save time or money? Thanks with a small donation and if you want to have reasons why you should donate, I invite you to read here.