If you through Anki’s latest Vector was just a cute face, you have another thing coming. And by that, we mean coming next week. That’s because Anki and Amazon will turn Vector into a cute face that will perhaps prefigure future home robots, both toys and appliances alike. That’s right, Vector will soon have Amazon’s Alexa integrated inside turning the tiny rolling robot into both a friendly companion as well as some hands-free help around the house.
It’s actually creepy, almost morbid, if you think about it. The Vector robot will soon house two AIs inside, Anki’s lovable Vector as well as Amazon’s less charismatic but more useful Alexa. Fortunately, these robots don’t exactly have multiple personality disorders.
What that means though is that the $250 toy will become much more than that. While Vector can already tell you the weather or keep a timer for your cooking needs or take a (low-res) photo for you, that’s pretty much it. With Alexa, it will be able to do so much more. Presuming, of course, you have other devices and services Alexa can control.
It’s also almost a bit disconcerting how Alexa’s inhuman icon (in this case a curved rectangle) takes over poor Vector’s friendly face and robotic voice and beeps. Then again, there’s really no getting around that. Too bad Vector’s screen doesn’t have enough resolution to show a more pleasing animation.
Anki Vector isn’t exactly cheap but with Amazon Alexa coming on December 17, its price is now better justified. Especially with a $75 time-limited discount. Of course, you can buy even cheaper Alexa-enabled speakers, but none of those will roll up and endear itself to you.