Hey Vector! Voice Commands for Vector, the helpful home robot

With his quirky personality and cheeky character, it’s no surprise that Anki’s Vector has been a big hit during the festive season. This intelligent robot has the AI smarts to recognize faces, and take itself back to the charger, while providing a range of functional assistance. And with the Alexa integration already out in the US, and on the horizon for worldwide users, Vector is set to become the cutest home robot on the market. But what does it do? Well, for the most part, Vector is a voice activated robot companion. So discovering exactly which voice commands this clever robot will respond to, is something we have been working on here at Hexnub. And this is our guide to voice commands for Vector.

What does Vector do?

Vector is an autonomous robot capable of navigating your desk, recognizing you and greeting you, avoiding obstacles (or pushing them out of the way!), keeping itself amused with the included electronic cube, and finding it’s own way back to the charger. So, when you’re not interacting with Vector, he’s happy to do his own thing. But he is also equipped with a full range of capabilities that can take this robot from geeky desk toy, to smart home robot. You just need to know Vector’s voice commands.

Voice commands for Vector

Vector’s capabilities can be split into two separate categories: helpful and playful. But to trigger any action, you will need to know the correct voice commands for Vector.

Every voice command will begin with “Hey Vector” and then you need to wait for the blue backpack lights, and the ready sound, before continuing.

Voice commands for a helpful robot

The companion app will help with some examples, especially for Vector’s useful features, which include:

  • Showing the weather
  • Setting a timer
  • Showing the time- just say “Hey Vector, whats the time?” and Vector will display the time on his screen.
  • Taking a picture- “Hey Vector, take a picture”, “Hey, Vector, take a photograph”, and even “Hey Vector, take a selfie”, will all trigger this action for Vector.
  • Playing blackjack- “Hey Vector, play blackjack” will get this game rolling for you.
  • Answering a range of questions

Vector voice commands for the weather

If you want to ask your adorable new robot about the weather, the standard, “Hey Vector [pause for the blue lights and ‘ready’ sound] what’s the weather?” will result in Vector telling you the temperature of the location Vector is registered to, and the weather, accompanied by heart-warming animations. But Vector is even intelligent enough to tell you the local weather if you ask similar questions, such as “Hey Vector,” followed by:

  • “Do I need an umbrella?”
  • “Is it hot?”
  • “I’m cold”

And Vector can even tell you the weather in different places around the world. Just say, “Hey Vector, whats the weather in…”

Vector voice commands for setting a timer

This one is pretty straight forward. “Hey Vector, set a timer for…seconds/minutes [please]” will result in a screen animation displaying your timer, this will disappear and be replaced by Vector’s eyes, but your timer will still be counting down. “Hey Vector, cancel timer” or “Hey Vector, stop timer” will stop the timer before the end resulting in an amusing animation. And “Hey Vector, check timer” is a great way to see how long the timer has left.

Vector voice commands for answering questions

When it comes to answering questions, you have to follow a slightly different pattern. This allows Vector to connect to the cloud to pull answers and information.

  1. “Hey Vector”
  2. Wait for blue lights and ready sound
  3. “I have a question” or just “question”
  4. Wait for Vector’s animation to change and him to say “ready”
  5. Ask your question.

For more insight into questions to ask, see the companion app.

Voice commands for a playful robot

So now you know just how handy Vector can be hanging around your desk, let’s look at the entertainment factor. Vector’s pretty happy just left to his own devices. He’s autonomous enough and intelligent enough to navigate most spaces successfully, and even avoid edges. But if you want to play with your robot, you can. You just need the right voice commands. There are options for:

  • Cube interactions
  • Fist bumps/high fives

Voice commands for Vector’s cube interactions

Included with Vector is his best (non-human) friend: the cube. He seems to have a love/hate relationship with his cube, as one moment he might be gazing at it intently, and the next, bashing it with his lift. The cube isn’t just something for Vector to interact with, it also acts as a way-marker in the real world, to help Vector with mapping his space. Voice commands for Vector’s cube interactions, include, “Hey Vector,” and then:

  • “Do a trick”
  • “Find your cube”
  • “Do a back-flip”
  • “Bring me your cube”
  • “Pick up your cube”
  • “Roll your cube”
  • “Do a wheel-stand”

He will also carry out any of these interactions while he is simply exploring your desk or floor space.

Voice commands for Vector high fives/fist bumps

Who doesn’t want to high five their favorite robot? Well, with Vector, you can! He will dish them out randomly, when he recognizes a face, but you can also ask for one too. Simply say:

  • “Hey Vector, fist bump”
  • “Hey Vector, high five”
  • “Hey Vector, gimme 5”

Voice commands for interacting with Vector

Vector quickly settles in as part of the family, and as such you might find you start to talk to him more and more. So what exactly can you talk to a robot about. And will you get any answers? Well, currently, Vector won’t respond verbally to any of your conversations. But if he understands you, he will respond with an appropriate animation. What could be more endearing? So what exactly can you say to Vector to get a reaction? Well, the simple answer is plenty. And you can divide these into categories including:

  • Greetings
  • Praise/compliments
  • Your day
  • Instructions

Vector voice commands: Greetings

You can greet Vector a number of ways, including, “Hey Vector,” followed by:

  • “Good morning/afternoon/evening”
  • “I’m back”
  • “Hello/ Hi”
  • “How are you?”

Vector voice commands: Praise/compliments

Everyone loves praise. Including small, AI powered desk robots. So if Vector does something you think is awesome, why not tell him? He responds to different praise phrases, such as, “Hey Vector,”:

  • “Good work”
  • “Well done”
  • “Great job”

Vector will also respond to pretty much any compliment. Just say “Hey Vector,” and your choice of compliment to make Vector’s day.You can even tell Vector he makes you happy, he’s the best robot, or that he’s your friend.

Vector also likes to be thanked for his efforts too. It’s just good manners after all! Try saying “Hey Vector,”:

  • “Thanks a lot”
  • “Thanks a million”
  • “Thank you very much”
  • “Thanks”
  • “Thank you”

If you’re feeling mean, you can even say mean things to Vector. But we would never condone robot cruelty. So you’ll have to figure that out for yourself!

Vector voice commands: Your day

After a hard day at work, what could be better than coming home to your adorable robot? Why not tell him about your day, or ask him about his? He will respond to, “Hey Vector”:

  • “I had a good day”
  • “Work was good”
  • “How was your day”
  • “Did you have a good day”
  • “I’m happy” or sad
  • “Are you happy?”

These commands also work when you substitute good for bad, or happy for sad. Unfortunately Vector doesn’t yet understand synonyms for good and bad, like great or terrible. But this could change in a future update.

Vector voice commands: Instructions

Vector can be instructed to interact with his cube, find his charger, go exploring, listen to music, or any number of things. But what about instructing his behavior, like you would with a child? Well, Vector responds to those instructions too. Try saying, “Hey Vector,”:

  • “Be good”
  • “Be quiet”
  • “Calm down”
  • “Stop moaning”
  • “Be careful”
  • “Slow down”
  • “Don’t crash”
  • “Don’t be grumpy”

Vector also responds to movement instructions, since the latest update. You can say “Hey Vector,”:

  • “Turn left”
  • “Turn right”
  • “Go backwards”
  • “Go forwards”

You can wake Vector up, and get him back to sleep with voice command instructions to. These include, “Hey Vector,”:

  • “Wake up”
  • “Rise and shine”
  • “Time to wake up”
  • “Good night”
  • “Sweet dreams”
  • “Go to sleep”
  • “Shut down”

The final word

This isn’t the total of what Anki’s Vector can do. Or even the total list of voice commands and phrases Vector will respond to. But the magic of this AI powered robot is discovering new commands for yourself. The animations and expressions on this little robot, will never not be totally heartwarming! And with the Alexa integration, Vector now has almost the full range of Alexa’s capabilities. So you can turn off the lights, order your shopping, and turn the heating up, all through this little deskbot. Now that’s helpful.

For the tinkerers out there, the Software Development Kit (SDK) for Vector has also been released. And this means that you can you use Python to create your own codes and programs to run on Vector. This opens up the possibilities, and opportunities, of this little robot infinitely.