Anki’s “Cozmo” Robot

If there’s one thing Anki’s charming Cozmo robot proves, it’s that the future of robotics doesn’t always have to be about large-scale changes to our labor force or the apocalyptic doom of humanity. Sometimes it’s about the little joys and whimsical interactions.

Rather than being solely human-controlled (á la Sphero’s BB-8 droid), Cozmo is a robot companion that explores, reacts, interacts, chirps, and emotes all on its own. He recognizes faces and reacts differently to each person he knows. He shows a variety of emotions, ranging anywhere from irritation to confusion to competitive to mischievous to gleeful. Using the three Power Cubes he comes with, Cozmo can play games with you, or sometimes he’ll simply play by himself. And this is only scratching the surface.

Check out FamilyGamerTV’s “day one” unboxing video for a quick glimpse at what playing with Cozmo is like:

If you’re thinking, “Gee, Cozmo sure does look a lot like something straight out of WALL•E,” well, that’s no accident. Anki brought on veteran Pixar animator Carlos Baena to be Cozmo’s character director/animator so he could help bring more personality to the robot’s movements, facial/eye expressions, and general reactions. Thanks to him, Cozmo feels like a real living being, more like a pet than a toy.

Get Cozmo for $180 at Anki.

Note: As of this writing (December 5th, 2016), Cozmo is temporarily out of stock, but you can hit the “Notify Me When Available” button to know when it’s back in stock. Also, they’re currently only shipping within the US, but they are looking to expand into other markets in 2017.