Anki's newest robot companion has expressive emotions and an unpredictability that makes it more pet than toy

Anki’s AI-powered robot companion Cozmo fits in the palm of your hand; and if you play too rough with him, you’ll see the hurt in his eyes.

“I find myself regarding the hamster-sized bot like a pet,” a FastCo tech reporter who got to test play Cozmo said.

In order to develop life-like emotions for Cozmo, Anki brought in Carlos Baena, an animator who had spent 10 years working at Pixar Animation Studios. Baena collaborated with an animator in Spain to create a library of emotions for Cozmo’s eyes, and the details mattered: for instance, Cozmo’s eyes change shapes when he blinks, which creates a sense of eye contact. He also directed hundreds of other possible animations: laughing, whimpering, spinning, rolling, inspired by Pixar movie characters as well as real life children and pets.

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