Anki announced last week that their smart home robot Vector will be compatible with Alexa “before the holidays”.
The cute 3-inch-tall device is Anki’s latest robot sidekick after their original bot named Cozmo. While Cozmo is more of an AI entertainment gadget, Vector is geared towards helping people around the house.
Like Cozmo, Vector still has the animated Wall-E, but he can tell you the weather, set a timer, take photos and deal you a hand in blackjack. Ask him a question and he can connect to the internet to give you an answer. Perhaps none of those features would seem incredibly useful to the average homeowner, but the new Alexa integration will give Vector an edge in the smart home market.
With Alexa, the little robot will then be able to control any devices that connect with the Amazon ecosystem. That’s 20,000 smart home gadgets including lights, speakers, thermostats, cameras and more. With Vector, Amazon has once again expanded its dominance in the IoT while the company continues to develop its own “domestic robot”.
The same day Anki dropped the news on the Amazon, they also revealed Vector’s next software update, which will add new animations and features. Vector will soon have new responses to voice feedback, new commands and improved edge-detection software.
“Because [Vector] is cloud-connected, [he’s] always learning and improving, with new features and ways for you to engage with him,” Meghan McDowell, director of program management at Anki, wrote in a blog post. “We are truly committed to making Vector the most engaging and entertaining robot you’ve ever interacted with.”
Vector was only just released in October, and Anki is already looking to add more features and capabilities to its toolkit. The company claims that Vector has super smart AI, “one notch below too smart,” which probably means we don’t have to fear the future: As smart as Vector gets, it won’t be taking over the world any time soon.