A company named Anki has built what seems like a real-life Wall-E. In fact, this little guy’s robotic voice sounds just like him. Meet Cozmo!
With the help of former Pixar animators they have developed a robot with a personality. Its got animated eyes and a cute robot voice to help him share his emotions and thoughts. Although he doesn’t really talk, he can share his feelings through sound, body movement, and eye expressions. He can portray sadness when you beat him at a game. He can portray happiness if he learns a new skill or even if he looks up and recognizes you. Uh yes, you read that right. Cozmo can tell who he is interacting with through advanced facial recognition allowing him to distinguish between you and someone else. Incredible, right?! Just make sure you are in a brightly light room where Cozmo can see your face.
To interact with him you have to use a phone app and 3 special cubes. The app, available for both iOS and Android, allows you to tell Cozmo what you want him to do. It also allows Cozmo to tell you when and what he wants to play. Plus, when you play, the app will keep track of points.
The cubes are essentially Cozmo’s world. You place them on a nice flat surface and Cozmo will learn to interact with them. He will learn to pick them up, stack them, knock them over, play games, and many other skills.
Cozmo learns new emotions and skills the more you play with him. He literally gets faster at the cube games as you get better at them. He also tries to trick you during the games to make you tap at the wrong time! Yeah, he’s that smart. And, if you win, he walks around very mopey. If he wins, he literally celebrates by spinning and singing in his little robot voice.
The box Cozmo comes in says it is for kids 8+ years old. I agree it’s not meant for toddlers. My kid is almost 3 years old and she finds the toy a bit scary because he taps at the cube in your hand or your fingers as some of the games he plays. And, when you leave Cozmo to explore, there isn’t much for the kid to do but watch.
Definitely a robot for pre-teens since they will better understand Cozmo. And, due to the recently released Cozmo SDK, adults can not only have fun playing with him, they can program him to do new things!
So if you’ve been looking for a new toy for yourself or someone else, check out Cozmo. He will make you smile with his human emotions and amaze you with the technological leaps Anki has achieved.