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Meet Cozmo: Children’s Toy or Robotics Revolution?

Robotics startup Anki has created a new robot with an unprecedented level of intelligence. Read on to learn about this exciting development

Remember those legos you played with as a kid? Or, if you’re slightly younger, those mechanized animals that could bark or meow? Anki, a robotics startup in the Silicon Valley, has taken the kid’s playroom to the next level by creating a self-programmable robot. Cozmo is the newest invention from Hanns Tappeiner’s small company and is capable of performing simple and complex tasks like stacking blocks, making noises, and recognizing certain faces, all stemming from a few lines of code. Here is the even cooler part: Anki is claiming that users can actually program their new toys with a few simple steps.

Where did this come from?

Anki is a robotics startup in the Silicon Valley. A seemingly little-known company, Anki is getting a lot of attention for its newest invention. Famous venture capitalist Marc Andreesen has even claimed that Anki is “the best robotics startup I’ve ever seen.” Anki is committed to making state of the art technology and robotics accessible to the average consumer.

How does it work?

Cozmo comes to life due to Anki’s new software development kit. Founder, Hanns Tappeiner, claims that this kit is simple enough that anyone can program this new robot at home, making it a new kind of customizable kids’ toy. Users can tap into the functions of Cozmo, including its sensors, computer vision, and planning capabilities. With a few lines of code, developers can influence all of the robots’ advanced functioning. Anki equates this level of programming at home to Apple allowing users to create new iPhone apps.

What can it do?

However, this robot is immensely intelligent. It is capable of recognizing faces and navigating new environments, as well as completing basic tasks. It has focused vision and sensing and possesses an artificial intelligence similar to a person functioning in a room of people. Anki claims that its emotions seem authentic and it can “plot and plan” in an almost-human manner.

How do you get it?

This device is, shockingly, only going to be about $180. It is available starting in October, along with its entire software development kit. However, allegedly, the company has only started mass production as of last week, so the number available may be limited for the next calendar year. This is predicted to change the face of programming and robotics, as it is the first device that is accompanied by the option of self-programming. So, while it is somewhat realistic to expect this little guy in your Christmas stocking, just know that when you unwrap him, you are participating in the start of a new robotics movement.