Anki, blessed by Apple, takes AI and robotics to consumers-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, June 10, 2013

Anki, blessed by Apple, takes AI and robotics to consumers

When Apple turns over part of its oh-so-important Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address to an unknown startup, you can be sure Tim Cook and Co. think they're dealing with some very cool technology.

That was very much the case with Anki, which was handpicked for a coveted slot as the poster child for what unknown developers can do with iOS. During its time onstage, Anki showed off what at first appears to be a simple toy car racing game, but what in reality might be the most advanced intersection of consumer-grade artificial intelligence and robotics ever.

In an interview in San Francisco a few hours after the keynote address, Anki co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman told CNET that Anki -- the company's name comes from the Japanese word for learning by heart -- is in the business of bringing AI and robotics, a combination that has long been the exclusive province of the defense industry, to consumers.

Apple clearly loved what Anki is doing with iOS: Users who buy the approximately $200 product starting this fall will use their iPhones or iPod Touches to control a little physical race car stuffed full of things like optical sensors, wireless chips, motors, and microcontrollers. Sofman said that he thinks of the technology much like a video game come to life, with the cars taking on the characteristics of video game characters, except in the physical world...Read more»

By: Daniel Terdiman