If you search the web, or ask an in-the-know tech geek friend, for the latest high-tech must-have toy, then it’s likely you will read (or hear) a whole lot about the Anki Drive. Why is Anki Drive such a big deal in the tech world? For a lot of reasons . . .
All about Anki
This San Francisco startup, founded in 2006 by a group of Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates, exists to bring cutting edge technology into the average home, in effect solving common, “complex problems” simply, by way of advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. Anki’s ultimate plan is to implement the technology used to make smart games and toys to eventually launch a new generation of machine-intelligent applications.
More than Just a Race Car
The Anki Drive is getting a lot of attention because it is the first in what many experts predict is an evolving line of practical and widely available robotics products that can change the way people interact with and use technology. What is Anki Drive, exactly? Basically, it is a remote control race car, about the same size as those slot cars that used to be so popular a couple decades ago . . . but with a high tech twist. The Anki Drive is equipped with a fast, 50-MHz processor, and an onboard optical sensor that can report on its “track” position a total of 500 times per second! What’s more is its track is invisible, and the Anki Drive can operate autonomously, in the company of other Anki Drive cars, without crashing. The Anki Drive is even equipped with “weapons” to use in racing games with other Drive cars.
The Apple Seal of Approval
Another unique thing about the Anki Drive is its remote control . . . which is actually your iPhone. By way of the Anki Drive iOS app, the Anki Drive car’s sensors can communicate with your iPhone through a low-power Bluetooth device. This partnership with Apple has gotten Anki a lot of positive press, and Apple recently introduced the Anki Drive product and app at its recent WWDC show. With Apple’s seal of approval, it seems inevitable that Anki, and its premier high tech toy, are sure to go places; and you can read about it on VentureBeat and other notable tech sites.
What you get for the Money
For a mere $200 (roughly the same amount of yesteryear’s slot cars, if you consider inflation), you get the sleek Anki Drive car and a roll up track (really a floor mat with optic location markers built into it). The previously mentioned Anki Drive app for iPhone is free.
Is the Anki Drive on your tech toy shopping list? If not, it should be. Consider all that makes it so special when deciding just how long you can go without getting your hands on one.