Put the robot down on a table and it quickly trundles around making a mental-map of the area. Obstacles, edges and flat surfaces are detected by its camera to help it navigate its speedy way around.
What he’s really look for though is you. Cozmo is driven by real needs and desires and top of the list is to see who’s watching — he’s a bit of a show off. If he recognises your face he’ll come over, make eye contact and say your name.
It sounds kind of cooky but actually it’s really disarming and makes you want to respond and reach out to the little guy. This is perhaps the closest you can come to meeting Wall-E in the real world.
This is for good reason too as Cozmo’s movements are designed and controlled by Maya, the tool usually reserved for use on animated feature films and video-games. The team of animators also have experience working on Pixar and Dreamworks pictures.
The result is a toy that is more of a character than a robot. Gone is the linear triggering of movements or action. In their place is a smooth stream of interactions that flow one to the other.
He comes with a series of cubes that further help him orient in the space. He also likes to gather them together and make sure they are facing the right way up — he’s a little obsessive like that.
Cozmo is out this month in the US for $179.99 and comes to the UK next year — although you could import from Amazon.com if you can’t wait that long.