(Tech Xplore)—Anki, maker of programmable toy race cars, and more recently, COSMO the palm-sized AI robot, has announced that it will release the software development kit (SDK) for COSMO at the same time that the tiny robot is released for sale in October. The initial rollout of the SDK is being called phase I—it will be considered a beta version and will be directed toward hackers, researchers and makers of other devices. That will be followed by phase II, which will be directed toward educators and students, and then eventually, phase III which will be directed at commercial developers.
COSMO is being touted as the first true AI-based robot meant for sale to consumers—as a toy and companion. Because of its AI-based programming, the robot learns more about the environment in which it lives and others that exist there with it as time passes, eventually learning to recognize individual faces and other objects. It comes with three power cubes adorned with lights that can be used in game playing. The cubes also assist in orienteering, because the robot knows how big they are, and also because each has an accelerometer inside of it, allowing the robot to figure out if he was moved, or if it was the blocks that were moved. COSMO can also pick up the blocks and move them around. Above all, COSMO is being touted for its awareness and interactivity—if he is ignored too long, he pouts; if he wins at a game he prances around; if he loses he grumbles. He even pauses now and then, his eyes moving slightly, seemingly in thought, before making his next move.
The SDK is Python-based and has been designed for use by experts or novices—for example, it can quickly be programed by someone with no experience to note when two people are on the couch getting ready to watch a movie, and dim the lights for them. Anki has issued a press release outlining things people can do with the SDK and robot, such as make changes to its computer vision system, change its internal mapping, add to object avoidance, make changes to the way it behaves, explore its animation system, turn its personality engine on or off, access raw sensor data and even recognize another COSMO robot.
The cost of one COSMO robot, which includes a robot, 3 Power Cubes and a drive on/off recharging station will be $179.99, or $159.99 for pre-orders being taken right now.