If your childhood dreams included having two best friends named R2-D2 and C-3PO, then you're going to want to meet Cozmo, a palm-size toy robot with a humanlike personality.
The small humanoid is the brainchild of Anki, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in artificial intelligence. The company is well-known in the industry for smartphone-controlled race cars, but this is its first foray into robots, and Cozmo is much more than just a robot. With a personality that evolves the more you spend time and play with it, Cozmo, like humans, learns from experience.
Cosmo can speak, snore while it sleeps, feel the full range of human emotions—including anger, frustration happiness, excitement, and confidence—and even express those emotions through facial expressions. For example, if you happen to beat Cozmo at a game of chess, it's likely it will sulk for just a second before asking you for a rematch. If you're not good at picking up body language, the robot also has speakers which can play a soundtrack of music that changes based on its mood. Plus, it's smart. There are more than 300 individual pieces inside, and the design team claims the robot is capable of processing more data per second than all the Mars Rovers combined.
Cozmo also uses facial recognition technology that helps it to remember you and all the people who live with it. Like humans, it is constantly scanning its environment and can react to human behavior. The more time you spend with it, the more games and actions you unlock, and Cozmo is programmed to give you a nudge if you're not paying it enough attention. Just like a real best friend.
// Cozmo will be available in October 2016 for $180, you can pre-order it now for $160, anki.com/en-us/cozmo