Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction. However, there are many a time when fiction has proven to be the inspiration for real world advancements, especially in the realm of technology. Who could forget the cute little robot known as Wall-E, where he fell in love with EVE along the way? Cozmo happens to be the real-life equivalent of Wall-E, save for the fact that it has no "female" robot mate to fall tracks-over-wheels with.
First of all, the Cozmo is no SpotMini from Boston Dynamics. What it is, however, would be a tiny robot that measures all of just 2.5" in height. Yes, you got that correct -- Cozmo is no huge, mechanical behemoth that will stomp on its detractors and naysayers. However, Cozmo is more than happy to maintain some sort of eye contact with you, as this robot companion was specially designed in such a manner that you would be fooled into thinking that it is actually "alive."
Resembling a whole lot like the slew of toy robots that are on the market, Cozmo has been programmed to move around, interact with its human master, as well as emote in the same manner as that of a prima donna, or perhaps a complicated movie character. Anki, the creators of Cozmo, made sure that the right "dose" of artificial intelligence, image and voice recognition, and animation were all well mixed, resulting in a tiny OLED screen that functions as his face.
The small OLED screen sports a pair of animated eyes which will be able to display a slew of emotions. Some of them will include being angry, focused, annoyed, surprised, skeptical, bored, scared, sad, happy, or even any combination of the mentioned emotions.
Of course, like many connected devices these days, Cozmo will not be a standalone robot, as it works in tandem with a smartphone app. This cooperation will deliver a matching soundtrack to Cozmo's actions. The integrated camera in Cozmo's face will be able to identify the person who is playing with him, and once a name is typed into the app, he is capable of remembering who you are in the future. For the more personal touch, Cozmo will even make mention of your name the next time he sees you, being one of the few words that he says out loud in a confident manner. As for the majority of the other times, perhaps a protocol droid or astromech droid might do a better job talking to it through a sequence of tones and beeps.
Cozmo is able to sense where you are as well as what you are up to at the moment, and as he moves around, he will use that opportunity to map out his environment, the people within as well as surrounding obstacles. Being smart enough to figure out when he is at the edge of a table, Cozmo won't be starring in the role of Humpty Dumpty anytime soon.
Expect Cozmo to be made available later this October for $179 a pop, where it will be accompanied by regular software updates down the road which will equip Cozmo with new skills in order to remain relevant with the times. Sounds like the perfect gift for Christmas stockings this year too, right?