With Anki shutting its doors, the main concern on everyone's mind has been: What will happen to its personality-infused robots? The company had robots and toys available as of shuttering its doors including Vector, and Cozmo. Although no one has come in — as of yet — to buy Anki's assets, including support for the robots, they still appear to be working. We even got Vector to give us a little fist bump. But tapping into the Alexa connection doesn't seem to be working.
- Anki, robotics company behind Overdrive and Vector, to shut down
- Anki's Vector is now an Alexa device
- Anki Cozmo Coding Robot: It even gets the hiccups
Anki has started to address the worry many expressed about the robots. (To be fair, they weren't inexpensive, with Vector starting at $250 and Cozmo starting at $180.) While no longer making the robots, the company is working to make sure the ones that are already out there will still keep rolling.
GearBrain plays with Anki Vector, Hamster-size robot that chats and acts like a puppy www.youtube.com
"We are taking steps to assure that customers will continue to enjoy continued use of our products," the company posted on its web site. "In order to provide long term support of our products, Anki has contracted our most senior leaders and hands-on engineers across all the technical areas involved in maintaining the operation and functionality in the existing products and apps. Ongoing operations for existing products typically require little to no active intervention, but we have arranged for any support in the event it does become necessary. Vector is the only product with a notable cloud component, and the contracted team is heavily staffed in that area."
Don't expect to pick up the phone and reach an agent, however. Staffing in that regard is not a part of the plan. Instead, Anki says it is monitoring the accounts — particularly for Vector, which also integrated with Amazon Alexa.
When Anki first made its announcement, GearBrain reached out to the company at the of April which told us that they were "still finalizing details for future support," by email.
GearBrain watches Anki Vector Robot avoid falling off a table www.youtube.com
Vector's Alexa mode not working
Soon after Anki's Vector, the robot got an upgrade giving it the ability to control Alexa-enabled devices, and even tap into Alexa Skills. You could run Vector as a robot on its own, but you could also say, "Hey Alexa," and watch its face immediately change. Gone were the animated eyes, and square blue halo appeared indicating it had gone into Alexa mode.
Currently, we can still get Vector to explore his surroundings, give us a fist bump, scan our face and respond in its characteristic way to a "Hey Vector," by staring in your eyes. In other words, it's still cute and responsive. But its ability to react as an Alexa device appears to be removed. That feature of course required a connection to the Anki's servers and also Alexa — which doesn't appear to be working.
Vector did however locate its charger, knowing when it needed to re-juice its battery, backing itself up as it always has, and go into sleep mode. How long the robot will stay alert is unknown, or if Alexa support will return.