Vector has its own personality that’ll simply make your heart melt

Robots. We’ve made loads of movies about them and we use them to build a lot of stuff, including cars, computers, and smartphones. Sometimes they scare us but most of the time we’re intrigued at how much they have evolved to present day. In fact, one company has taken a big leap into the personal/household robot niche that it’s hard not to imagine a future where these machines get to coexist with us - hopefully in peace. On that one note, meet Anki and their animal kingdom-inspired Vector robot.

What is a Vector robot?

Pretty much what the label says, but instead of adopting a bipedal setup, Anki’s Vector looks more like a miniature bulldozer, but Anki is adamant that his character resembles that of a fennec fox or sugar glider. It even uses a pair of tracks to move around and a forklift-like arm to move and lift objects. Vector is also the most funded robotics project of all time on Kickstarter, with $1,877,719 raised from 8,293 backers. That’s no small feat.

Anki Vector Robot
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Now, Anki says Vector is not just a robot, which is kind of something we expected. Sure, he’s fitted with all the bits and bobs required to keep him mobile, but the company claims "Vector feels alive." Moreover, the personality Anki baked into Vector makes him a sucker for helping others - think of a butler robot of sorts. Starting a conversation is quite simple: just say "Hey Vector", followed by "I have a question" and wait for the robot to answer. There’s a wide range of questions he can answer to, including the likes of "How is the stock market today?" or "How many calories are in an avocado?" or "Who won the World Cup?"

Anki Vector Robot - Design

Anki Vector Robot
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First and foremost, you should know that Vector is fully autonomous and always connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi. This means it gets over-the-air updates pretty much the same way like a Tesla. Vector’s brain is a Qualcomm APQ8009 processor and he can actually hear and see. Now, with the brain issue solved, Vector employs a 120-degree ultra-wide HD camera that not only allows him to get a good look at the environment but also recognize multiple faces. The hearing part is handled by four built-in microphones that, again, allow Vector to understand each individual in the room. Here comes the cutest part, though: it’s also fitted with capacitive touch surfaces so he can tell when you pet him. Aww.

What’s more, Vector knows when he’s running low on power and he’ll simply go to his charger to replenish the battery - here’s something that could come in handy for electric cars and smartphones. Now, let’s say you want to keep Vector on your desk. Will he fall? The answer is no, says Anki. The company provided the robot with four drop sensors facing the ground so he can avoid unwanted falls. Oh, and he actually uses an infrared laser scanner for distance tracking and surroundings mapping but he’s also capable of showing his "emotions" on the high-resolution IPS display - the one where his eyes are rendered.

You’ll need to download the Vector app to set up the robot (iOS, Android), but also keep in mind that your home should be fitted with a 2.4 GHz compatible Wi-Fi router and USB power adapter. You can get Vector for $249.99 on Amazon.

Anki Vector Robot Specs

Anki Vector Robot
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Anki Vector Robot Specs
Processor quad-core Snapdragon, 1.2 GHz
Sound 4 microphones
Video 720p camera
Connectivity Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Sensors 4 cliff sensors, 6-axis inertial measurement unit
Weight 5.6 ounces
Size 3.9 x 2.4 x 2.7 inches
Battery Li-ion, included
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