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Thread: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

  1. #1

    Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Just a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with Anki. Wanted to share this with you guys and discuss it a bit.

    So, at a big Apple event a company called Anki showed these robotic car toys with apparently (or maybe just hyped?!) some fancy AI behavior.

    For a decent article and some videos, see cnet: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57...-to-consumers/

    Now, I find it really cool that this is available at a consumer level, but I am not getting why this is such a big deal? I work with AGVs as a professional so maybe I am a bit biased that way.

    I do see some really cool potential if you get this this on a chip (like: http://www.robotshop.com/myrobots-connect-3.html) with some API's and expand uhm.. Mech warfare for example. Unfortunately I cannot find much more technical information, it will be released this fall as a game.

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    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    I really hope they're hackable. Everybody has a smartphone and lots of people know how to program them. Mini-mech or battle bots sounds more fun than racing.

    Quote Originally Posted by CasperH View Post
    Now, I find it really cool that this is available at a consumer level, but I am not getting why this is such a big deal? I work with AGVs as a professional so maybe I am a bit biased that way.
    This made me think of the 70s. Sorry to readers too young to remember.

    "Why is this Apple II thing such a big deal? I use a 32-bit VAX as a professional, so I am not getting anything new in such a limited little toy."

    The articles say this: "The founders of Anki are just beginning with toy cars. Eventually, Anki intends to build more robust, location-aware robots."

    Modern supercomputers evolved from toy-like PCs, while minicomputers went extinct. Maybe they can reach the mass market by starting at the bottom instead of the middle.

    Cheap (supposedly) autonomous robots for consumers? To me, that's neato!
    Last edited by Nammo; 06-13-2013 at 01:57 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Modern supercomputers evolved from toy-like PCs, while minicomputers went extinct.
    Actually, a *lot* of the research that went into mainframes in the '60s, '70s, and even '80s have helped pave the way for the explosion of microprocessor based computing.
    Did minicomputers go extinct? Not at all. They turned into the 1U 19" "pizza box" rack servers you'll find in closets across most corporations.
    The fact that there is a shared ISA between your laptop, desktop, server, and supercomputer doesn't mean that the particular business niche served went away. A quad socket Xeon based rack server actually has a very different approach to engineering than a luggable gaming laptop -- and a minicomputer engineer from the '70s would probably feel quite at home, after overcoming the "gigabyte shock" :-)

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    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Quote Originally Posted by jwatte View Post
    Actually, a *lot* of the research that went into mainframes in the '60s, '70s, and even '80s have helped pave the way for the explosion of microprocessor based computing.
    I'm in complete agreement! (I was pointing out that we buy our servers from Dell, not Digital.)

    To answer "what's the big deal" about serious big-robot intelligence trickling into silly consumer products: I'm hoping it's a sign of a much larger industry developing around autonomous robots. I get excited when I see anyone trying to sell robots by the millions instead of hundreds - not many outside iRobot do that.

    The research behind the PR2 will be embedded in throwaway toys someday. That's not a slam on big research robots. Research institutions and giant commercial robots will pave the way to robots that sense and plan in every home.

    And what will all this advanced technology do? Probably entertain us. That's what the supercomputer in my lap is for.
    Last edited by Nammo; 06-13-2013 at 07:23 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Quote Originally Posted by Nammo View Post
    This made me think of the 70s. Sorry to readers too young to remember.

    "Why is this Apple II thing such a big deal? I use a 32-bit VAX as a professional, so I am not getting anything new in such a limited little toy."

    The articles say this: "The founders of Anki are just beginning with toy cars. Eventually, Anki intends to build more robust, location-aware robots."

    Modern supercomputers evolved from toy-like PCs, while minicomputers went extinct. Maybe they can reach the mass market by starting at the bottom instead of the middle.

    Cheap (supposedly) autonomous robots for consumers? To me, that's neato!
    Fair point, I am definitely too young to have experienced that. Well, let's hope history repeats.

    I also dug up some more technical information from an Engadget article: http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/15/a...s-based-robot/

    There they say it is a more of an iOS robotics platform and that the location awareness originates through the mat on the floor. Originally I thought it was in the cars.

  6. #6

    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Quote Originally Posted by Nammo View Post
    I get excited when I see anyone trying to sell robots by the millions instead of hundreds - not many outside iRobot do that.
    Quite a few besides Irobot do that. Try Fanuc, Haas, Mazak and a host of others. You simply would not have the manufactured goods you have today without quite literally armies of tireless workers cutting, welding, inspecting and assembling parts without human intervention. It's been going on for decades

  7. #7

    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Right, but all the Fanucs, ABBs, Haass, and Matsuuras in the world together probably don't sell a million units a year. If I were an account rep at Haas, I'd be pretty happy about selling a few units a month :-)
    That being said, I totally agree with the sentiment, and the parallel to computers: It starts high end, and then makes its way downwards, until we carry it around in our pockets. And the companies that make money on the high end are usually unwilling to go "down market," throwing away a high-margin high-end business for a low-margin, low-end business, so the companies that end up delivering to the mass market are typically newer, smaller, disrupting companies.

  8. #8

    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Quote Originally Posted by jwatte View Post
    Right, but all the Fanucs, ABBs, Haass, and Matsuuras in the world together probably don't sell a million units a year. If I were an account rep at Haas, I'd be pretty happy about selling a few units a month :-)
    That being said, I totally agree with the sentiment, and the parallel to computers: It starts high end, and then makes its way downwards, until we carry it around in our pockets. And the companies that make money on the high end are usually unwilling to go "down market," throwing away a high-margin high-end business for a low-margin, low-end business, so the companies that end up delivering to the mass market are typically newer, smaller, disrupting companies.
    Then you should talk to our account rep who has moved more than a few units to us in a month several times in a year, or Ruger up the road with several hundred spindles. As a matter of fact 2 years ago when we needed to get a machine, they were 10-12 weeks backlogged with orders, so were all the other major MTB's.
    Irobot is also down the road from us, I know a couple of their engineers personally. They aren't moving millions either. Although it is likely a higher volume than HAAS
    I love when people talk about the "robot revolution" in manufacturing in terms of it coming. As if everything is built by cavemen with hammers and 3d printers will drag these knuckle draggers into the 20th century. Modern manufacturing is amazing and a fascinating study, and largely completely unknown or understood by the general public. A lot of startups these days think they are inventing something when they are simply unaware of what is (or was and since abandoned) out there.

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    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    Some real numbers:

    In 2011, about 165,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide. Since 1963 there have been 2.3 million sold (Source: http://www.worldrobotics.org/index.p...me&news_id=261)

    I can't find a source for it, but I know that it is estimated that about 1 million industrial robots are still in service (this was a big a very interesting fact back when Foxconn announced they were going to install 1 million robots).

    In 2012 Irobot, reported that they have sold 6M units since Roomba was introduced, which is a span of 10 years -- so even roomba doesn't sell 1M a year on average. (Source: http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/17/ro...c-anniversary/ (I've also seen this number attributed to an earnings call for Q4 2010, so it's likely that they hit 6M units in late 2010.))

    One other interesting recent data point: Baxter is "being produced at a rate for sales of 500+ in 2013", and Universal Robotics is building 100+ arms a month. (source: http://htl.li/l2MWY)

    -Fergs

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    Re: Anki AI, physical robotic car racing game

    lnkfergy, how many bots are these guys selling? http://unboundedrobotics.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by escott76 View Post
    I love when people talk about the "robot revolution" in manufacturing in terms of it coming. As if everything is built by cavemen with hammers and 3d printers will drag these knuckle draggers into the 20th century. Modern manufacturing is amazing and a fascinating study, and largely completely unknown or understood by the general public.
    I absolutely agree. I love tours of science and industrial places. I don't listen much... I just look at the manufacturing techniques used for everything.

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