Anki's Cozmo makes everyone an A.I. expert

Anki cozmo

Cozmo is a cute little, WALL-E-esque robot with big dreams. 

Anki announced that its pint-sized robot will also come with a software development kit that allows anyone with a little bit of know-how and time to fully tap into the robot's capabilities. So what does Anki hope to accomplish?

In IT Blogwatch, we become the human overlords to a tiny little robot.

What is Cozmo? Oh, just an adorable little robot. Helena Yeung introduces us:

Cozmo, a charming robot...small enough to fit into your hand...resembles...a miniature forklift [and] features an animated blue face that can convey “emotion” through its eyes. If a player hasn’t interacted with Cozmo for some time, its eyes will change into a game of Pong, indicating...it’s bored.

That does sound cute. But a robot needs to be more than cute -- what else you got? Nat Garun brings Cozmo's personality to life:

Cozmo...has a young, playful personality and uses its built-in computer vision to recognize each person it plays with, and grows with them as they get better at games, challenges, and activities.
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Cozmo’s personality is...incredible...If you poke and toss Cozmo around...he might show he’s upset and stop playing with you...in a block-building game...If you mess with Cozmo’s stack by putting another block on top when he hasn’t finished, he might get pissed off and pushes the whole thing over.

Impressive -- I like my robots to throw tantrums! But still feel like we are missing something? Here's what we can do with Cozmo:

Anki...also want[s] curious owners to be able to fiddle with Cozmo...the company is releasing an SDK along with the tiny droid that will make it the ultimate customizable robot companion.
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[T]he company wants to deconstruct the notion that robotics is a feat of engineering...only accessible to those who have the know-how...even casual programmers will be able to order Cozmo about, allowing them to tinker with the droid’s abilities and potential.

Ordering a robot to do something -- sounds interesting, but what else? Kyle Wiggers explains more about what developers can do with the SDK:

The ultimate aim...is to put...“thousands of lines of code”...at the fingertips of both experts and dilettantes alike.
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Cozmo’s software development kit...includes hundreds of individual functions that let developers leverage everything from the Cozmo’s facial recognition to object avoidance.
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Intrepid programmers can supplement the list of available functions with their own code...which opens the door to integrations with “any internet-connected device” with a compatible web API. Cozmo will be able to pair with a Philips Hue bulb to dim the lights when you’re sitting in...your living room...or start a wireless coffee maker when you get out of bed.

Those are some pretty cool capabilities. But what does it all mean? Chris Davies summes it up nicely:

Cozmo...may look like a toy but its companion SDK is arguably just as ambitious as that of iOS or Android.
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