The software development kit (SDK) being released with Anki’s artificially intelligent little robot Cozmo this fall will give users control over the inner workings of the character’s facial recognition abilities, sounds, navigation skills and other functions. What’s more, the company has designed the SDK so Cozmo’s code can be easily altered even by users who don’t have much experience with artificial intelligence (AI), robotics or programming.
A free beta version of Cozmo’s SDK is set to be released on October 16, the same day the miniature robot arrives on the market. Cozmo (pictured above) can be pre-ordered for $159.99.
Founded in 2010 by three veterans of the PhD program at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, Anki is backed by more than $157 million in venture capital funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Two Sigma and J.P. Morgan. The company already markets an AI-powered miniature car racing game called Anki Drive, which was released in late 2013.
SDK has ‘Staggering Implications’
Cozmo was designed as an artificial intelligence that consumers could afford “that has the same sophistication as some robots currently used in research labs,” co-founder Hanns Tappeiner wrote yesterday in a blog post on the company’s Web site. He added that the robot was also created so the underlying software would be easy for anyone to access and program.
Recent advances in AI and machine learning are making intelligent devices increasingly accessible and affordable to the consumer market. In May, for example, the computer company Asus announced the coming release — date yet to be determined — of a $599 “smart companion” called Zenbo that resembles the BB-8 droid from the latest Star Wars film.
In addition to providing users with the ability to control Cozmo’s mechanical functions, such as wheel speed or head position, Anki’s SDK beta will enable even…