Silicon Valley toymaker Anki, an artificial intelligence and robotics company, has introduced Cozmo, a miniaturized bulldozer-shaped-robot, capable of emulating human emotions, ANI reports. The robot is designed for persons aged eight and above and will be put up for sale in October at a price of $180. According to The Verge, pre-orders will have already kicked off yesterday.
Anki has rejected the view that Cozmo is expensive and justifies the $180 price tag because of the advanced software and high-quality hardware that has been included in the robot. The company’s management has said in a statement that Cozmo will come with a set of sensor-embedded blocks that are used both to play games with the robot and to help it understand its position in the environment.
Much of Cozmo’s heavier processing tasks are handled by a smart phone that’s been paired over Wi-Fi with Anki’s new mobile app, which frees up the robot itself from having to house more complex computer parts. The real appeal of Cozmo, though, comes in what Anki is calling an emotion engine, which powers a wide range of different states the robot is capable of emulating.
Drawing from academic psychology, those different states – happy, calm, brave, confident, and excited, to name a few – are derived from combinations of the big five personality traits used to describe the human psyche. By mixing and mashing these traits as if they were colors, Cozmo can replicate a surprisingly complex range of human-like emotions.
To create these emotion states for Cozmo, Anki began drawing from the expertise of former Pixar animator Carlos Baena, who was hired last year to run character direction. The company utilizes Maya, an industry-standard animation tool, to render various actions for Cozmo.