Robot app prototyping on Anki Vector

This past weekend, Vikram Radhakrishnan, Lukas Jelinek and myself, Thosha Moodley got together to try some robot app prototyping on the Anki Vector. The Vector is an adorable robot created by Anki, and a follow up to their first model, Cozmo. We are using it to produce a robot app prototype as a proof of concept.

Vikram, Lukas and Thosha with Anki Vector

Learning on the Vector has been great as it’s easy to get started and pretty cute. The main hassle is that the API requires Python 3.6 and not everything we want to work with is 3.6-ready. Also the API is in alpha state so still some incomplete features and bugs.

Our use case is based on the idea of a house sitter app which runs on the Vector or other robot hardware and helps keep an eye on important locations in the home. To get this working we had to get familiar with Vector’s camera and mapping features.

Anki Vector creating a map by exploring

Vector builds a map by exploring the surrounding space. In the picture above you can see different colour codes on the map that represent what Vector knows about that space:

  • Dark grey – unknown
  • Green – no obstacles
  • Dark green – cliff
  • Red – obstacle cube
  • Orange – obstacle proximity
  • Yellow-green – obstacle proximity explored
  • Dark red – obstacle unrecognised
  • Black – cliff
  • Yellow – interesting edge
  • Dark yellow – non-interesting edge

Vector also has a remote_control app in the code samples – watch Vikram controlling it here:

Well, that’s all for now, be sure to stay tuned for updates on our robot application mission!

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