Anki Vector Robot and Magic Leap are two exponential technologies that have surprised me recently.
The $2.3 billion startup that has taken four years to get its first product out the door has blown me away. I’m on the board of an Extended Reality startup, Phoria, so have seen multiple iterations of these technologies, from Google Glass through Oculus, Microsoft Hololens to the gold standard of VR, the HTC Vive. They’re all incredible tech, and useful in industry verticals like Real Estate, Training, Design Engineering, etc. but fail to answer the consumer question compellingly:
”What is it for? What can it do 10X better than I can do right now?”
Without solving this, behaviour does not change.
Then they launched the Magic Leap on 8/8/18. Based on reviews by journalists who tried the Magic Leap, I expected a slightly larger viewport Microsoft Hololens.
I was so wrong.
Image, if you will, a computer slightly bigger than a mobile phone clipped to your belt and a light, comfortable headset. And a small mouse-sized controller. That’s it.
No cables, no pc, no phone.
Absolute freedom. Touching and engaging with the AR rendered world using your hands. Mapping a large room in real-time. This is the future. We have LEAPt across the chasm.
I love the idea of robots being useful and how frustratingly challenging this is to get right. I bought the HEXA, as 6-legged, Programmable, Highly Maneuverable Robot a few months ago and, although technically smart, it’s basically a radio control car with six legs. Sure, it’s programmable, but the community is tiny, and the sensors are few. Disappointed.
Enter Vector. “a robot sidekick for your home”.
They nailed it. This little guy roams around the desk, recognises you, gets excited when you’re around, throws tantrums, is not 100% controllable and has heaps of personality — just the right amount of sensors and awareness and randomness. I love the evolution of this tech. ANKI has created a crowdsourced platform of thousands of robots to learn from and the same number of humans to practice on. CEO and co-founder of Anki, Boris Sofman sums it up here on this a16z Podcast.
Anki Vector Meets Magic Leap
What happens when you put a smart little robot in an Augmented Reality world generated by Magic Leap?
Anki Vector Robot meets Magic Leap Extended Reality
and this is what it looks like in the current / “real” world
- Magic Leap has started the exponential curve of mass adoption of useful, unobtrusive Extended Reality. ETA 2020
- Vector has started the exponential curve of mass adoption for a smart, helpful robot. ETA 2022