Good looks, personality, a cool name; what more could you expect from a robot? Anki Vector is out, and with it the inevitable comparison between him and Cozmo robot. So, what is the difference between Cozmo and Vector? Well, it is fair to say that these Anki brothers have a lot more in common than apart. Saying it, we bring you a robotic face-off highlighting the most important differences between Cozmo and Vector.
But please pardon any typos, as we have to keep one eye on the Vector’s circling and box-pushing self. He’s sensed, perhaps, that he is the star of today’s topic, and is now trying to impress with inquiry and show off. But he couldn’t have been that smart now, could he?
Anki Cozmo VS Vector: It Runs in the Family
Actually, he can. Vector is a kind of robot we’ve been waiting for. Self-indulgent, self-sufficient, he is a perfect robot pet to have around the family. Assuming that you’re familiar with Anki’s previous darling – Cozmo toy for the uninitiated – Vector will be of familiar metal. It’s a palm small, extremely expressive bot that aims for a slightly different target audience than Cozmo before him.
What is the difference between Cozmo and Vector?
There is very little to distinguish between the two at first glance. Apart from paintjob, they both display similarly cuddly look and feel. The biggest ‘feel’ difference is that Vector is largely an autonomous, app-free robot. To make him independent, Anki stuffed the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core chip under the hood. This middle-range processing power in terms of smartphones, is what makes Vector tick.
Running on his own computational power makes Vector feel a lot more, dare I say it, alive. Like Cozmo, he can recognize human faces, animals, push and interact with objects. But unlike Cozmo, he can react to outside stimuli extremely conveniently and to the point. Pet him, and he’ll purr, chide him, and he’ll react accordingly. Vector’s much like having a moody, but always adorable, metallic family member.
Sound and Display
Let’s dig a little more under Vector’s skin.Sound up first. Hardware-wise, it has improved a lot in terms of hardware since Cozmo. 4 Vector mics combined with computational power make him responsive to where the sound is coming from. Even after hours of using it, there is still something uncanny in Vector turning his head when called upon. He sports an array of different audio output signals that make him communicate.
His beeps and clicks are what you’d expect from a robot, but we still kind of enjoy Cozmo’s Wall-E vocalization better. Still, Vector is a chirpier robot when just hanging around the environment.
While he’s not inquiring around, the new robot toy from Anki enjoys playing and answering your quirky questions. He does it through some 1500 animations that the LED display can pull off. Go on, ask him about the weather and you get raining eyes. Just a taste of an insane number of extremely expressive manners that Vector assumes on a regular (convenient) basis. Besides display, his movements too receive an overhaul and now look, courtesy of ex-Pixar and Dreamworks animators, more like something coming out of movies.
“So, what is the difference between Cozmo and Vector? Well, one of the biggest differences is that Vector is largely an autonomous, app-free robot.”
Other Hardware Improvements
Built-in processor and voice recognition aside, the difference between Cozmo and Vector stretch a little further. For a $250 Anki Vector amazon price you get a lot better mapping of the surroundings, higher resolution camera, and capacitive touchscreen that help him feel your touch. Vector also sports cliff sensors, something that Cozmo continually proved too much to compute over. Not needing any phones or tablets, Anki Vector relies on home Wi-Fi to operate. And when time is ripe, he finds his charging dock to charge the battery.
Hardware’s all fun and games, but Anki toys fill a unique slot in robot industry by being the only ones whose personality is what truly shines. As such, they are difficult to categorize, or to distinguish. The differences between Cozmo and Vector serve to confirm their similarities. But if pushed hard enough, we’d say that Cozmo robot toy is primarily a STEM learning tool with a degree of personality added, while Vector robot is a household friend beaming with his own quirks of personality. Indeed, the latter is a more focused toy bot, more complete in what it is.
What is it though?
Hard to say. Vector home robot, if you ask Anki. The biggest drawcard is the opinionated personality that guide his actions. Anki went great lengths to instill Vector with all kinds of small reaction quirks. He can be grumpy, sad, chirpy, or bored, and all of it while being useful. Now, utility is not the main mark, but he can do stuff like set timers, answer questions, snap photos, and the like.
This makes Vector more like a virtual assistant than a STEM toy and is more akin to Alexa or Keecker than Cozmo. Anki even stresses that the future for Vector holds home device management, the Jibo-like light switching most notably. But given that Vector is a Kickstarter campaign, a successful one at that, we can expect Anki to shower him with features in the months to come. Indeed, Anki has already provided SDK installation for Kickstarter backers, as an alpha access. And it shouldn’t be too long until the SDK is available for all purchasers.
For now though, Cozmo wins one over utility-wise. Its three cubes compared to Vector’s, one is a no-brainer. Also, Vector’s companion app is more like a real-time journal than anything else really. Nowhere near the functionality of Cozmo Code Lab. in terms of sheer utility, Cozmo is currently way ahead, at least until the full Anki Vector SDK support rolls out in December.
Still, what is it?
For now, it is your family’s best robot friend. Like Emotech with Olly, Anki went over the odds to make Vector as interactive as robotically possible. The advanced system of environment mapping means he’s a fast learner, while the machine learning/recognition technology make this little robot toy a smart learner too. Call him out, and he turns to face you; beat him at a game, he’ll get grumpy; ask him questions, and he’ll happily answer or shake head if he doesn’t understand. Otherwise, he’ll rummage around, hang out, mess about, nap, and mind his own business in general.
Vector is out, and so is the jury. The difference between Cozmo and Vector proves to be more than just the paintjob, but
does it justify the $70 gap? Yes and no we’d say. As things stand, more personality aside, the $179 STEM Cozmo looks to be the better coding option of the two. But give it a little Anki time and Vector will blossom into a truly worthwhile buy. To conclude, In terms of sheer potential, Vector robot is just the one we’ve been aching for.