Anki’s Resources have been Obtained by an education Firm that wants to revive the Household of robots
When Anki suddenly closed down in April of this past year, things looked bleak for Vector, Cozmo, along with also the Overdrive small racing cars. Intellectual property becoming liquidated and abrupt shutdowns do not end with resources and efficiently disappearing. Despite a few vague guarantees (more like expects, actually ) out of Anki at the time that their cloud-dependent robots could continue to function, it was fairly apparent that Anki’s robots would not have much of a potential –at best, they would continue working just so long as there was enough money to encourage the cloud servers which gave them their own spark of existence.
A couple of weeks before, The Robot Report reported the Anki’s intellectual property (patents, trademarks, and information ) was obtained by Digital Fantasy Labs, an instruction technician startup based in Pittsburgh. On the weekend, a fresh post on that the Vector Kickstarter webpage (the effort occurred in 2018) from Digital Fantasy Labs CEO Jacob Hanchar declared that not only does Vector’s cloud servers keep running indefinitely, but the upcoming few months will see a brand new Kickstarter to include new attributes and future-proofing into Vectors anyplace.
Here is the statement from Hanchar:
I wanted to let you know that we have purchased Anki’s assets and intend to restore the entire platform and continue to develop the robot we all know and love, Vector!
The most important part of this update is to let you know we have taken over the cloud servers and are going to maintain them going forward. Therefore, if you were concerned about Vector ‘dying’ one day, you no longer have to worry!
The next portion of this update is to let you know what we have planned next and we will be announcing a KickStarter under Digital Dream Labs in the next month or two. While we are still brainstorming we are thinking the Kickstarter will focus on two features we have seen as major needs in the Vector community:
1) We will develop an “Escape Pod”. This will, safely, expose settings and allow the user to move and set endpoints, and by doing so, remove the need for the cloud server. In other words, if you’re concerned Anki’s demise could also happen to us, this is your guarantee that no matter what happens, you’ll always get to play with Vector!
2) We will develop a “Dev Vector”. Many users have asked us for open source and the ability to do more with their Vector even to the point of hosting him on their own servers. With this feature, developers will be able to customize their robot through a bootloader we will develop. With the robot unlocked, technologists and hobbyists across the globe will finally be able to hack, with safe guards in place, away at Vector for the ultimate AI and machine learning experience!
As a bonus, we will see about putting together an SDK so users can play with Vector’s audio stream and system, which we have discovered is a major feature you guys love about this little guy!
This is just the beginning and subject to change, but because you have shown such loyalty and got this project off the ground in the first place, I felt it was necessary to communicate these developments as soon as possible!
Some more details are in the comments within this article –Hanchar notes they did not receive any of the actual stock of Anki, meaning that for today, you won’t have the ability to purchase any robots. But, Hanchar advised The Robot Report they’ve been speaking with ex-Anki workers and producers about acquiring fresh robots, with a goal of getting the entire family (Vector, Cozmo, and Overdrive) accessible for its 2020 vacations.
Regardless of the statement on the Vector Kickstarter webpage, it seems like Cozmo is going to be the first focus, since Cozmo operates best with Digital Fantasy Labs’ present educational goods. The near future of Vector, presumably, depends on how well the approaching Kickstarter does. In its own FAQ concerning the Anki purchase , Digital Fantasy Labs says they”will want to inspect the company model surrounding Vector earlier we could relaunch this merchandise,” and talking with The Robot Report, Hanchar proposed that”monthly subscription bundles” at a couple of distinct tiers may be the best way to be certain the Vector stays rewarding.
It is probably too early to get excited about this, but it is definitely news than we expected, and the robots of Anki look as though they could have a long time. In the brief term, I believe many people will be quite pleased using a Vector 1.0 with assistance, a few new attributes, and no expiry date, and which might be precisely what we are becoming.