Have you always dreamed of having a tiny robot that is cute and recognizes you, follows your commands and basically is the early stage of the takeover of our robot overlords? Well, we may be exaggerating about that last one, but we’ve already seen several robotic products for the consumer market. Anki previously released the pretty cute Cozmo and now, their second generation rolling robot called Vector is crowdsourcing its existence on Kickstarter and hoping that more people would want to have their very own robot playmate.
The major difference between these two robots is that Cozmo still needed to be tethered to your smartphone while Vector can run independently. In fact, the only time that you need your phone is in the initial setup process and then afterwards, it can run, or rather, roll, on its own. The only other accessory that it will need is its charging dock when it runs out of juice, but other than that, Vector is a free bird.
Specs-wise, of course Vector is a major upgrade from Cozmo. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core 1.2GHz processor in the 200 platform to help it navigate and understand the things that it sees and hear. Its capacitive touch sensor allows it to sense and react when it is touched and held. It has a 4-microphone array so it can recognize sound sources and natural speech and filter out the noise in the room.
Vector has an HD Camera with a 120 degree field of view so it can identify people in the room as well as detect motion around it. And so it won’t “injure” itself while it’s moving, it has four sensors to help it out and it has an infrared laser scanner for distance tracking and environment mapping. It can also express its “emotions” through a high-resolution color IPS display that can react to your command or conversation (to a certain AI extent of course).
As to what it can do exactly, you’ll be able to ask it to take a picture, it will tell you through its screen what’s the weather like, and you can use it as a timer. It’s not exactly a smart speaker or the robot of your dreams, but hey, it’s cute! You can support its Kickstarter campaign to ensure that the Vector gets produced and sold in the market and you can get it there at a discounted price of $200 and it will ship to you by October. If you just want to wait until it’s officially out, you’ll have to buy it for $250 and wait until December.