The assets of Anki, a failed robotic toy company, have been acquired by an education technology company called Digital Dream Labs, which is expected to save Anki’s robots from an untimely demise,media outlet The Verge reported. Jacob Hanchar, chief executive of Digital Dream Labs, said in a blog post about an Anki kickstarter campaign that his company would continue to develop Anki’s latest robot, Vector. “The most important part of this update is to let you know that we have taken over the cloud servers and will continue to maintain them,” Hanchar wrote. So if you’re worried that Vector will die one day, you won’t have to worry! “
San Francisco-based Anki closed in April last year after running out of money. The company said it sold more than 1.5 million robots, including AI-controlled cars called Anki Overdrive, and two social robots, called Cozmo and Vector. Vector, which costs $250, calls and recognizes voice commands, interacts with the user’s smart home and plays a variety of games.
Social bots such as these typically have some offline functionality, but to truly interact with users, they must connect to an external server to enhance the processor’s functionality. This means that when companies selling social robots fail, they often fail.
But with the acquisition of Digital Dream Labs, Vector seems to have avoided this fate. The company said it would outline its plans in more detail in the coming months, but would focus on developing two main features of Vector: a “escape pod” that allows the robot to run without any external server, and an open source development kit that would allow fans to design new features for the robot.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the company will maintain Another robot from Anki, nor does it mean that a new version of Vector will be developed in the future. Digital Dream Labs says it will launch a new Kickstarter campaign to fund its work. “This is just the beginning and may change, but because you’ve shown such loyalty and started the project in the first place, I think it’s important to communicate these developments as soon as possible!” wrote Hanchar. “