Today I introduce you to a fun, new, interactive robotic friend called Anki Cozmo. This tiny robot features artificial intelligence that allows him to grow and develop his personality the more you play with him. Over time you’ll unlock Cozmo’s many personality traits and emotions to keep the experience of playing with him fun and fresh every day for a long time to come. If Cozmo sounds like a friend you might want to make, keep on reading for all the fun details! (By the way, there’s also an Anki Cozmo Robot Collector’s Edition in black and grey.)
Who (or What) is Anki Cozmo?
The Anki Cozmo robot is a small, vehicular character with a big personality! This is due to Cozmo having artificial intelligence and an ongoing ability to learn and unlock new and fun features as you interact with him each day. For example, each new day that you play with your Cozmo, you will be given goals (games to play, etc.). By reaching your goals for the day (which is not difficult), you’ll unlock new game apps or other abilities in your Cozmo. And he also has great potential for future fun as new upgrades to the Cozmo App are constantly under development (think new built-in game apps and additional skills and abilities).
As for getting around, Cozmo rolls about on tank-like treads (see photo above) and interacts both with you and with his three smart blocks (Power Cubes) using his somewhat forklift-like front end. He lifts, rolls, stacks, and knocks down his blocks both at will and as you command him. He even has the ability to learn to recognize your face and say your name when he sees you, although his overly cute voice is rather difficult to understand.
Among Cozmo’s games are Keepaway, Code Lab, and Quick Tap. This last one is especially fun. You essentially have to see who can tap a block the quickest once it changes colour to match the other player’s block. In other words, both you and Cozmo each get a block to play, and you have to beat him to the punch whenever the colours match (unless the match is solid red, in which case you need to avoid tapping your cube or you’ll give up a point). It sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and you can even play with 3 players if you want to (Cozmo and 2 humans) or with multiple (2 or 3) colour combinations on the light-up blocks. The 3 colour option is really difficult to play. In my video overview below I take on Cozmo in a best 2 out of 3 series of games to 5 in one colour mode. It’s just one of the really fun ways that you can interact with your Anki Cozmo robot. Also, note from the screen capture shown above that I’m getting ever closer to unlocking Cozmo’s Explorer Mode, which I’m honestly pretty excited about!
Fun with Anki Cosmo!
Playing with Cozmo has proven to be great fun, both for me and my wife. Pretty much the first thing you do after charging him up (about one hour’s worth) and downloading the Cozmo App (iOS and Android based devices are both ok) is introducing yourself to him. Cozmo actually has the ability to recognize your face and remember your name, identifying you in his own voice when your face comes into his field of vision (he gets pretty excited to see you as well!!). He also has interesting facial expressions and often highly reactive movements (body language) that add to his unique personality. To charge him up, simply place Cozmo on his charging base and plug the adapter in (see charging base at right). You’ll also need the base to wake him up whenever you want to play with him. At least this was my experience. Even if he was already fully charged, the app told me to place him on his base to activate him. Once this was done, my Cosmo would come alive and drive off of the base all by himself.
One of the coolest things about the Cozmo App is the promise of continual updates with new and exciting content. This may include things like new games and personality traits for Cozmo to further develop over time. It may even include some new skills for him to use when competing with you in games or keeping you entertained. And speaking of games, Cozmo comes with three interactive power cubes for use in playing those games as well as for Cozmo to play with on his own (i.e., moving them around, stacking them, knocking them over, etc.). A screen capture below shows some of Cozmo’s many skills and how you can get him to complete certain tasks. As with the game apps discussed above, you have to unlock these skills as well by interacting with your Cozmo.
Examining the Video Evidence:
I made a short video overview of the Anki Cozmo robot in action. Please take a couple of minutes to check it out to see Cozmo come to life. In it you’ll see how he moves and hear his unique voice tones and soundtrack. You’ll also see me play a game or two of Quick Tap with Cozmo in which we race to touch our blocks first when they turn to matching colours. It’s a really fun game and I think you’ll be impressed with Cozmo’s quickness:
Final Thoughts on Cozmo
I really like this cool little robot. When I first saw photos of him, he really reminded me of COJI – The Coding Robot by WowWee, but I soon realized that this resemblance was purely cosmetic and that Cozmo has far surpassed COJI in terms of his amazing skills and abilities (not to impugn the coolness of COJI). Whether you want a robotic companion to interact with and play games against, or simply an amusing little friend to watch as he goes about his business of exploring and playing with his blocks, Cozmo is super cute, a whole lot of fun, and certainly sure to please! I would most definitely recommend Anki Cozmo for kids in the specified target age range, which is anywhere from 8 and up. Heck, even an old guy like me can have fun with a cool little bot like Cozmo!
Take a look at Best Buy’s Smart Toys & Robotics section for more cool bots!