Anki Vector, the chirping rolling robot that launched this summer, is looking to morph into a smart home staple with a new Alexa feature. Starting in December, people will be able to speak to Vector as they would an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or any Alexa-enabled device to tap into Amazon's voice assistant's functions.
Vector owners can activate the Alexa feature by just using Alexa's wake word if Vector is nearby. After that, they can start speaking to Alexa through the robot — just as they would through an Echo device. Vector's face, which typically shows his expressive eyes, will show a blue circle when connecting to Alexa.
Vector will schedule reminders, add items to a grocery list, do web searches, pull up the weather and also control smart home devices from August smart locks to Canary security cameras — just as Alexa can do through Echo speakers. (Check out The GearBrain to see more devices that work with Alexa.)
Even before the Alexa meld, a new update is coming to Vector which will bring new animations, sounds, features — like reacting fairly petulantly if it's shaken — and all sorts of tricks to their robot including the ability to detect whether it's too close to the edge of a table, desk or cliff. These roll out to Vector owners later this month, in November.
Already pretty expressive, Vector will have some sweet new abilities including being even more responsive to let you know when he's pondering something, as well as reactions and some Easter eggs. (Test out how he reacts when you tell him he's a "bad robot," or a "good robot.")
The update for Vector's new features will start first in the U.S. and Canada, and then in other countries early next year as Vector goes on sale in those locations.
To sweeten the new abilities and the coming Alexa integration, Anki is offering a one-day deal tomorrow, Saturday, November 17 pricing Vector 30 percent off its retail price of $249.99 as a Deal of the Day on Amazon. Anki is also posing more details on the Vector update on its site.