Sure, home robots such as the Roomba vacuum cleaner are pretty useful, but they are still a long way from the characterful, interactive droids we were promised during a misspent youth watching Star Wars and Short Circuit. Fortunately, those dark, lonely days without the company of a droid buddy are about to be over thanks to the folks at Anki and their latest creation, Vector.
This little home robot is packed with personality. It’s always on, fully autonomous, and capable of performing around 1,000 different animations. Vector can also react to his environment in a way that’s disarmingly lifelike. That includes recognizing individual people courtesy of an in-built HD camera or responding to their touch via a capacitive touch sensor in his back. Oh, and did we mention that you can use Vector as a moving Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod-style smart speaker by asking him questions with the prefix, “Hey Vector.”
As for compatibility, Vector is planning to offer a fair amount of support for some of the other connected tools likely already in your home. The company wants its little bot to be able to send messages to the contacts in your linked iOS or Android device, connect with your security camera integrations, and support services like Tile and Amazon Alexa.
“For over five years, [manufacturer] 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,” Boris Sofman, CEO and co-founder at Anki, said in a statement. “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.”
After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $2 million in funding, Vector is finally available to buy. The little bot will set you back $250, and can be purchased from Amazon or through Anki’s website.