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 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 inexperienced programmers to modify the robot's high-level behaviors, Tappeiner said.
"This is where things really start to get interesting," he said. "With our SDK, you can program Cozmo to do something with a single line of code that once would have required a PhD-level expert in robotics and AI to achieve. Making this level of robotics available has staggering implications for the worlds of entertainment, academia and future industries."
Future Releases To Support Mobile App Development
As well as releasing a user-friendly development kit along with Cozmo, Anki is working with a variety of partners, including academic institutions, research labs and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) educators, to build a longer-term roadmap for the robot, Tappeiner said.
"[W]e can't think of a better way to inspire the next generation of roboticists and coders than a Cozmo in every classroom," he said. Anki will provide more details about what's included with the SDK as the release date draws closer. The company is also seeking feedback from people about what types of robotics problems they would like Cozmo to address.
On a preview page, Anki described some of the features that will make its Cozmo SDK unique. One key feature is the ability to alter both low-level and high-level functions on the robot by changing just a single line of code. For example, controlling Cozmo's ability to look for faces in photographs requires just as little coding as changing the robot's light color to blue.
Written in the Python programming language, the Cozmo SDK will require a user to have a robot, a computer capable of running Python 3.x and a recent iOS or Android smartphone with the Cozmo app. Later versions of the SDK will also enable developers to create other native apps for either iOS or Android that are similar to the Cozmo app.
Posted: 2017-03-04 @ 6:22pm PT
i have not had cozmo but people say that it does not work i want to know if there are any more updates or software updates
Posted: 2017-02-25 @ 1:34pm PT
@Jeremy: You can find more details on the Anki developer's site at developer.anki.com
Posted: 2017-02-25 @ 1:30pm PT
Great article, but it leaves me with a couple of questions. Is the SDK available for sale now? What is it called, and where could I get a copy?
Posted: 2016-12-21 @ 11:51am PT
If it is stolen can it be disabled?