Consumer Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Company ANKI Debuts

Thursday, June 13, 2013


 Artificial Intelligence
Anki, the artificial intelligence and robotics startup made up of Carnegie Mellon alumnists made its debut yesterday with an impressive, though not perfect demo at Apple's WWDC Conference.

T he artificial intelligence startup Anki, demoed at Apple's WWDC Conference yesterday. Despite a few bugs, it still wowed the crowd.

Apple CEO Tim Cook praised it as "the first steps of the future of robots and artificial intelligence being realized."

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Anki has also been funded by Netscape founder and Andreessen Horowitz partner, Marc Andreessen. His team contributed to a $50 million Series A and B investment in Anki, along with Index Ventures and Two Sigma, to help build robots that know exactly where they're located and move accordingly.

During the WWDC demo, co-founder Boris Sofman laid down a small race track and put toy cars on it. At once, they started winding around the curves of the track perfectly without any human aid. It was all controlled by an iPhone app, which enables the cars to react to their surroundings in real time via low-energy BlueTooth signals.

The cars ping the app 500 times per second, according to Sofman. The other two cars were able to prevent a third car from passing. Sofman says the cars are programmed to think the way a human does while driving.

The founders of Anki are just beginning with toy cars. Eventually, Anki intends to build more robust, location-aware robots. Andreessen likens the technology to Google's self-driving car. But Anki is starting with an affordable solution that can scale to everyone's living room.

"It’s extraordinarily sophisticated software and closer to the Google Self-Driving car than anything else," he told TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis in an interview. "The way robotics and AI come into the market is the way computers come into the market, very expensive. These guys are doing the exact opposite, at the lowest cost possible. They’re going for quantity, they’re going for scale. Sort of like the smartphone versus the mainframe.”

In the future, Anki won’t just be a toy, though. Perhaps it will let robots dodge human workers in factories, or keep mechanized assistants from tripping over your feet within the home? There are more phone-controlled IRL Anki products to come. So far, no one’s disclosing more details.

SOURCE  Business Insider

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