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Cozmo: artificial intelligence for the games room

Armed with its own personality, this artificially intelligent toy robot is revolutionising the toy market. Cozmo brings human-machine interaction to a new level thanks to its almost alive-like appearance. I’m bowled over.

Cozmo is a high-tech powerhouse. He features the very latest technology in the form of your own little tracked vehicle. The robot can explore his surroundings independently, like a mini Mars rover. He is also able to make his own decisions and show various emotions. Thanks to the integrated camera and face recognition technology, Cozmo always knows what is going on around him.

Cozmo with its three cubes

Cozmo’s needs

Like a living thing, Cozmo also has certain needs that have to be met. His three needs are playing, eating and tuning. The associated app lets you see what kind of attention Cozmo requires. But be warned, the longer you leave him unattended, the more he’ll want your affection. The app is available for free for iOS and Android from the relevant app stores.

Yellow = playing, blue = eating, red = tuning

Playing

Cozmo loves playing. If it was up to him, he’d have your attention day and night. On the the app’s main screen you’ll see a yellow display, which shows his current need for play. The more you play with Cozmo, the happier the little chap is.

For the purpose of road-testing this robot, I let the play display level go all the way down. That did tug on my heart strings a bit, as Cozmo got quite depressed. All his oomph was gone and he seemed perpetually grouchy. If you don’t play with Cozmo enough, he’s never pleased to see you.

But that shouldn’t happen, as playing with Cozmo is incredibly fun. In fact, I managed to get the display to return to full capacity within a few minutes.

These are the kinds of games you can play to interact with Cozmo:

  • Catch me – you need to pull the cubes away quickly
  • Remember me – recalling a specific sequence
  • Hit me – be quicker than Cozmo

At the outset, it’s quite easy to win against Cozmo. But over time, he improves and gets faster and more sneaky. Now it’s almost impossible for me to get the better of him. My Cozmo beats me at almost every game, and his emotions are second to none. When he wins, he’s so happy he laughs at me and gloats. At the other extreme, if he ever loses, he sulks or gets annoyed with himself.

On the plus side, Cozmo can also amuse himself and isn’t always reliant on you. These are the games Cozmo plays on his own:

  • Stacking cubes
  • Turning cubes
  • Singing
  • Catching your finger
  • Fist bumping

Cozmo in his element

Eating

If you don’t feed Cozmo often enough, he doesn’t have enough energy to play. He just ends up looking sorrowfully into the distance. The way to give him food is by shaking the cubes until all four bars light up blue. You then place a cube in front of him so he can eat. He moves up in front of the cube, lifts his arm and starts munching.

Hint: it might look like Cozmo gets hiccups when he eats too quickly. To help them go away, lie him down on his back for a bit.

Tuning

Now and again, you have to adjust his joints. The red bar in the app shows you how he’s doing mechanically. If you leave it too long to tune him, Cozmo will lose some control over his motor skills. As part of the tuning process, Cozmo does a scan of himself. Once the scan is complete, you can see where the faults are. These could be in his head, his lifting arm or in his treads. To readjust any faults, all you need to do is click on a sequence of movements in the app.

Cozmo from the back – he still cuts a fine figure

Other features in the app

The Discover tab in the app gives you access to other features that work with Cozmo. Here are some of the things you can get up to:

Getting better acquainted

This is where Cozmo can get to know you. He looks at your face and commits it to memory. You need to sit in front of him so he can scan your face. You can also tell him your name. Once you’ve done this, Cozmo will be able to identify you. Now whenever he sees you, he’ll be happy and greet you by name.

Coding in an easy way

Code Lab gives you access to Cozmo’s core functionality. In other words, you have all of his robotic technology at your fingertips. Customised programming couldn’t be easier. All it takes is dragging and dropping individual code blocks. Code Lab’s coding language works along the same lines as that of Lego Boost.

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Ramon Schneider

Ramon Schneider

Junior Editor

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Lego Boost: we were lucky enough to pretest these programmable robots

Playing with reconnaissance mode

In this mode, Cozmo is like a remote control car. You have access to the camera, meaning everything Cozmo sees appears on your smartphone or tablet. You can also direct him around, move his head and use his lifting arm.

The world through Cozmo’s eyes

Exploring audio response

Cozmo can say words or even whole sentences by typing your text into a field. Surprisingly enough, Cozmo also has a good grasp of Swiss German. He does sometimes put the stress on the wrong parts of the word, but I still take my hat off to him.

However, I did realise that Cozmo refused to say a few things. He didn’t want to use swear words. I happen to think the manufacturers made the right call there. At least Cozmo can’t be misused for swearing. Well, that’s not quite true. I discovered he’ll say words if you write them with typos. 😀

Accessories

Cozmo comes with black treads as standard. If you feel like giving your new best friend a makeover, you can buy treads in a variety of colours. A set includes four rubber treads in blue, green, orange and red. As soon as I treated my Cozmo to a red set, he already looked a bit cheekier.

Having said that, I did find the price of the treads of a bit steep. After all, they don’t improve any mechanics of the robot. They’re only there to look good, and they probably only cost a few rappen to make. I’m pretty sure Anki could make the price tag a bit more reasonable

Cozmo rubber tracks set
CHF 20.-
Anki Cozmo rubber tracks set

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: only 1 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

The manufacturer does redeem itself slightly with the travel case it designed for Cozmo. At first I thought it was unnecessary, but I’ve since been put right. This travel case has turned out to be incredibly useful. It comes with inbuilt recesses for storing Cozmo and his cubes. There’s also ample space for the power supply. While the box is on the expensive side, it has been finished to a high standard. The case has a nice feel and looks great, too.

Cozmo transportation bag
CHF 37.-
Anki Cozmo transportation bag

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: only 1 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

The verdict

Cozmo is an amazing toy that has been a real triumph for Anki. He uses his personality to connect with you in a way that no other bot has managed to before. Admittedly, Cozmo doesn’t have a perfect disposition. He makes mistakes and responds to them. But it is these qualities that make Cozmo seem more real.

He cruises around, recognises your face and follows your movements. In some ways, he’s a bit like a pet. What I really love about Cozmo is how he always seems to be able to surprise me. He does things I’d never even expect a robot to do.

With his current price tag, Cozmo isn’t what you’d call cheap, but he’s certainly worth every franc. As far as I’m concerned, this robot is revolutionary when compared with today’s toys. Thanks to Cozmo, Anki have become pioneers in the AI toy market. Most importantly, this little guy shows a completely different take on how humans can interact with robots.

Cozmo Starter Kit
CHF 259.-
Anki Cozmo Starter Kit
5

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: only 1 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: only 3 piece(s)
  • Zurich: only 3 piece(s)

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

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User
Als Multimedia-Produzent interessiert mich alles, was mit Medien zu tun hat. Alles! Egal ob Film, Foto, Ton, Grafik oder Text. Des Weiteren bin ich seriensüchtig, Musik affin und unternehmungslustig. Bei schönem Wetter liebe ich es draussen zu sein, der Zivilisation zu entfliehen und bei einem gemütlichen Lagerfeuer die Natur zu geniessen.

6 comments

User Patrick S. aus B.

Wie lange läuft der Cozmo? Wie lädt man ihn wieder auf? Wie interagieren zwei Cozmo's?

17.10.2017
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User Ramon Schneider

Bei vollem Akku kannst du etwa 90 Minuten mit Cozmo spielen. Über die Ladestation ist Cozmo in 30 Minuten wieder voll aufgeladen. Wie zwei Cozmos miteinander interagieren konnte ich leider nicht ausprobieren. Würde mich jedoch auch interessieren. :)

17.10.2017
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User wachhoju

Wie lange geht es, bis diese Spielzeuge auch gehackt werden? ;)
troyhunt.com/what-would-it-...

17.10.2017
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User Ramon Schneider

Cozmo ist nur mit einem Gerät verbunden und nicht mit dem Internet. Daher ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass jemand missbräuchlich Zugriff darauf erlangt. In den USA ist Cozmo seit einem Jahr auf dem Markt und bis jetzt ist mir noch kein solcher Fall bekannt.

17.10.2017
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