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,’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.
Cozmo’s personality is...incredible...If you poke and toss Cozmo around...he might show he’s upset and stop playing with 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.
[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 to put...“thousands of lines of code” the fingertips of both experts and dilettantes alike.
Cozmo’s software development kit...includes hundreds of individual functions that let developers leverage everything from the Cozmo’s facial recognition to object avoidance.
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.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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