If you’ve been looking to buy your child or a child in your life a super cool robot, look no further than the robots Cozmo and Vector by robotics company, Anki.
These amazing little pieces of technology can be used alongside the ideas involved with STEM learning in order to help your child learn more about technology, with a hands-on approach that allows them to even code their very own robot through their included Software Development Kits - but with all of these exciting features, and two different robots to choose from, it can be a bit confusing trying to understand which one might be the best robot for your needs.
If you’re looking to buy either a Cozmo or a Vector, but you’re not sure which to choose, it’s completely understandable.
That’s why we’ve written up a guide, including information on both robots, with the aim of helping you to work out which robot is the best for your child, or your specific needs.
Within this article, we will discuss the differences between Cozmo and Anki, including their features, components, additional products, and ease of use, as well as a rundown on who would be best to purchase that particular robot for.
Where Can I Find A Cozmo Or Vector Robot?
Unfortunately, (at the time of writing) it may be quite difficult to get your hands on either a Cozmo or a Vector robot straight away at its original price point, as Anki closed down in 2019, meaning that these intelligent little AI robots are, at the time of writing, no longer manufactured.
Both Cozmo and Vector, alongside OVERDRIVE, another of Anki’s assets, became the property of the company Digital Dream Labs in 2019.
Luckily, Digital Dream Labs have redesigned both Cozmo and Vector, re-releasing them as Cozmo 2.0 and Vector 2.0, meaning that at the time of writing, they are available for pre-order from the Digital Dream Labs website, with deliveries starting in 2022.
It might be a wait - but if your kid likes science, or robots, or both - it’s definitely worth it.
We’ve linked to the pre-order pages below.
Cozmo is the first of the two robots to be produced by Anki.
This robot is definitely geared more towards children - but this doesn’t mean that adults won’t fall in love with him and his adorable attributes just as much!
With his quirky, playful characteristics, as well as the fact that he can actually be used to teach kids how to code, this little robot is a really engaging mix between fun and education.
Cozmo has a variety of modes. He can play games using the three cubes that he comes with, as well as explore his surrounding environment using his in-built sensors (reacting with cute little facial expressions as he does).
This little robot actually has a lot of technology packed into him - with more than three hundred different parts and components, Cozmo is capable of much more than you might think.
We’ll get into some of the features you can expect from Cozmo below!
Cozmo Comes With
An instruction manual, three cubes and a charging station.
The cubes each have markings that enable Cozmo to distinguish between them in order to play games.
The cubes light up, and Cozmo is able to pick them up, allowing them to be utilized in a variety of different ways so that you and Cozmo can use them to play games with each other.
Cozmo is able to explore and interact with the environments around him - to do this, he uses a combination of his camera, gyroscope, and sensors to assess the environment around him, and navigate it safely (albeit, sometimes quite hilariously).
He will emote as he does, meaning that watching Cozmo do this can be even more entertaining than playing with him sometimes.
Cozmo can mainly navigate flat terrain, however, you don’t need to worry about him falling off of any tables - he has a sensor that lets him know when he is approaching any cliffs (edges with a drop), giving him the information that he needs to keep himself safe.
Cozmo can recognize and remember different faces, meaning he’ll remember you each time he sees you.
One of Cozmo’s biggest appeals is probably his adorable character and buildable personality.
Cozmo seems to both recognize and display human emotions (using his face-screen to produce animated eyes).
This means that your Cozmo may seem happy, angry, grossed-out, scared, sad, or shocked, adding that little bit extra to make this robot seem less like a robot and more like a member of the family.
He presents these emotions using a mixture of his animated eyes and sound clips, as well as movements. His personality really comes to life through this - he might get annoyed after losing a game.
His emotional memory is also pretty cool - if he gets upset about losing a game, he might remember this for a little while, and he may come across as a little less enthusiastic.
One of Cozmo’s best features is that, although he’s ready to interact with you pretty much straight out of the box, through the use of machine learning, Cozmo will develop his own unique personality over time, based on how you and your family interact with him.
Some of the attributes Cozmo can develop can be funny, and relatable - for example, he may sneeze if a dog walks past him, mimicking ‘allergies’.
Machine learning also allows Cozmo to get smarter over time, learning based on your interactions with him and getting better at games.
One of the reasons that Cozmo is largely geared towards children is the wide range of games that he can play, incorporating his three cubes into this.
The games you can play with Cozmo include:
- Memory Match - In this game, Cozmo lights his three cubes up in different colors. Your job is to memorize the order in which these colors appeared, tapping them on the cubes to yourself in order to input your answer.
The challenge here is to stay in the game as long as possible, as each time you pass a round, the following round will get longer - and as a result, harder.
- Keep Away - This game is loads of fun! It requires you to move a cube closer to Cozmo - but make sure you’re ready to move it away at a second's notice because Cozmo might try to smack down on the cube with his arms!
This game can really demonstrate how clever Cozmo is, as he might pretend that he is about to smack down on the cube in order to fool you into making the wrong decision.
- Quick Tap - The aim of this game is to tap the cubes before Cozmo does - but only when they match. This game is made even more interesting by the rule that if the cubes match red, you shouldn’t touch them either. So it can really keep you on your toes!
Cozmo uses a graphical programming language called Cozmo Code Lab.
This method of programming is the perfect way to get any child interested in programming or robotics started with coding their very own robot.
This downloadable smartphone or tablet app uses a drag-and-drop function to make stringing together lines of code simplistic and easy to understand - whilst still allowing the user to obtain a firm grasp on the fundamental elements of computer programming.
Using this will allow you to make the Cozmo robot, even more, your own, as you can create your own games, get him to move in the way that you want.
Vector is the second robot that Anki produced - however, this sophisticated little robot is aimed more towards adults.
You can interact with Vector using your voice, and even integrate your Vector robot with your Alexa, turning him into the perfect little household assistant.
Vector comes with a cube to play games with, and he can explore his environment, as well as recognize who he is interacting with. He can also put himself into his charging station.
Vector Comes With
An instruction manual, one cube and a charging station
Vector’s cube works in the same way as Cozmo’s cubes do, with the ability to light up. Vector can also pick his cube up and interact with it.
Vector has an additional product that you can buy, called Vector Space.
As the name suggests, this is, quite literally, a space for your little assistant to live in.
With space for his charging station and enough room for him to interact with you (without needing to put him away), this might be a worthwhile purchase to bring your experience with Vector to the next level.
Vector comes with a loveable personality, very similar to Cozmo’s.
The main difference between the two is that Vector has a microphone included in his design, meaning that you can interact with him using your voice, and he can talk back.
Vector also has the ability to be pet, as a result of his in-built touch sensors, and he’ll react to this touch accordingly.
Vector’s ability to communicate verbally and through facial expressions really helps to build the illusion that this robot is more than just a robot - he can be part of the family.
Vector can learn over time as a result of machine learning as well, however, he does this without you needing to instruct him.
The increased level of interaction with your Vector robot, for example, through verbal communication increases Vector’s ability to learn as well.
Vector will explore your home, reacting to what he sees as he does.
He comes with improved sensors, such as a distance sensor, as well as an improved camera with a wider field of view, increasing the amount of his environment that he can analyze, also.
Vector's increased ability to explore, without obstruction, means that he does more of it and he learns as he does.
If you choose to purchase Vector Space to go alongside your vector, this exploration takes a different meaning - your Vector is able to constantly be alert (apart from when he has put himself into his charging station), so you may catch your Vector doing different things throughout the day.
This also means that he’s ready to be put to use or interacted with at any time.
Vector can do things by himself. Whilst you sacrifice your control with Vector, it means that he is able to execute several tasks without needing any input from an app.
His autonomy makes him useful for people that would rather have a more hands-off approach, so if you value companionship and usability, this may be a good robot for you.
He will explore your home without needing your direction to do so, meaning that sitting back and watching Vector can be equally as entertaining.
Your vector is also able to put himself on charge, so as long as he can access his charging station, you don’t need to worry about him running out of battery unexpectedly.
Vector can be integrated with Alexa, allowing him to take on many of the functions that you may get out of your usual Alexa, but adding life and personality to Alexa’s uses.
Vector's ability to talk makes this possible, as well as his included microphone array - this adds an extra layer of functionality to this robot and allows him to function much in the same way that your Alexa might - for example, setting timers just by asking Vector to do so.
Vector comes with one game, blackjack, which can be played with him using his new and improved
So, Which One Is Better?
This question can only be answered based on what you would like to use your robot for.
If you’re looking for a virtual assistant, then Vector is probably your guy. If you want something fun to interact with and learn to program, then Cozmo might be more up your alley.
The same goes based on your age group - Cozmo seems to be more suited towards children, and includes three cubes, expanding the range of games you can play with him.
Vector, on the other hand, is perfect for checking things such as football scores, or if you need to add an event to your calendar, making him perfect for day-to-day tasks.
We’ll talk about this in more detail within the following sections.
Components And Design
If you’re looking to buy a robot based on how advanced its individual components are, Vector is probably the robot you’re looking for.
Vector is essentially Cozmo - but with a makeover.
Vector features a 720-pixel wide-angle lens camera, whereas Cozmo’s camera isn’t as good, with a resolution of 320 x 240-pixel camera with a narrower angle.
Vector also comes with a microphone array, vastly improving his usability and allowing you to communicate with him as a result.
This feature is the one that may sway many potential buyers, as a lack of a microphone in something that is supposed to be an ‘advanced’ piece of technology may make Cozmo seem a little defunct or behind the times in today's world.
The refurbishments with Vector don’t stop there - Vector uses a laser to measure distance and increases his ability to stay out of the way of any steep drops or dangerous (for a robot) obstacles.
As well as this, he has a touch sensor that allows you to pet him, and the ability to connect to the internet, meaning that he can provide you with information at a second’s notice.
Besides this, Cozmo and Vector feature a lot of the same design, and look very similar, with pretty much the same appearance outside of their colors.
Some may argue that Vector’s black gives him a more sophisticated, adult feel, whereas Cozmo’s white brings more of a sci-fi, new technology aesthetic to the robot’s design.
Vector comes with over five hundred extra facial expressions, allowing him to communicate more effectively and adding that bit extra to his personality that Cozmo is not capable of.
Cozmo may seem like the more desirable option in this area though, due to the ability to learn to code with him using Cozmo Code Lab.
This means that provided you’ve got the time and patience, the potential with Cozmo is truly limitless, and he can do far more than what might initially seem possible.
However, you can only communicate with Cozmo through his app, as he doesn’t have a microphone.
This might make interacting with Cozmo a little more time-consuming, however, this might be more enjoyable or intuitive to some people.
Vector comes with on-board processing, which effectively gives him his own brain, allowing him to go off and do his own thing without any need for you to direct him on what to do - for example, putting himself on charge automatically if he needs to, or if you turn the lights off, allowing him to pick up on the fact that it’s time to go to sleep.
This is a massive leap from Cozmo, who requires you to put him on charge - although, this is debatable, as you can code Cozmo to do this.
We would argue that despite Cozmo’s ability to be coded, Vector may still seem more desirable based on his ability to do things like this himself without any further assistance.
Vector can also be integrated with Alexa, meaning that his use as a personal assistant may prove extremely useful, whilst still maintaining the quirky characteristics that can be expected of these robots.
Which Robot Is Better - Cozmo Or Vector?
If you’re stuck on which of these two robots to purchase, we would highly recommend that you decide how you would best utilize a little robot companion.
If you’d like a personal assistant with up-to-date technology and the ability to provide you with traffic reports, update your calendar, and set timers, whilst exploring all on his own whim, Vector can fulfill your needs.
However, if you’re looking for a robot that acts more like an adorable pet that you can play games with and learn to program, or if you’re looking to buy a gift for a child, Cozmo may be more of the sort of thing that you are looking for.
Rest assured, the likelihood of you being disappointed with either of these robots is extremely low.
They both have entertaining personalities, and their own pros and cons, so whichever you choose, we’re sure you’ll have loads of fun.