Anki says the software update that is adding Alexa to Vector will release on December 17th alongside other “interactive experiences.”
With Vector, Alexa is triggered by, as you have already guessed, saying “Alexa.” This then gives the toy access to Alexa’s full range of capabilities, including working with smart home devices’ third-party ‘Alexa’ skills. Basically, at least at the outset, it looks like Vector will perform exactly like every other standard Alexa-enabled device.
It looks like Alexa-related voice commands result in Vector becoming possessed by Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, which does seem a little unsettling.
That said, I’ve been using a Vector in my apartment for the last few months and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the emotive robot. I’m looking forward to testing out Vector’s Alexa integration when it launches.
The other experiences coming to Vector include the following:
- Holiday Cheers: Wish Vector a happy holiday or new years, and watch him deliver a festive cheer!
- More Voice Commands: Now you can ask Vector to turn his volume up or down, and direct him where to go — ex: turn left, turn right, turn around, etc.
- Hand Detection: Vector can now recognize hands! Next time you’re near Vector, don’t be surprised if he rolls up to your hand and gives you a little nudge. He just wants to be petted.
A recent over-the-air update to Vector brought hundreds of new animations, voice feedback responses, sound effects, bug fixes and more to the tiny robot.
Anki also recently launched a python-based software development kit (SDK) for Vector that allows owners to program the robot’s sensors and various animations. This feature is currently only available to alpha and pre-alpha customers that pre-ordered Vector on Kickstarter.