Anki has released a major update to its Cozmo robot’s companion app — arriving later today — that adds new dimensions to what the toy can do, introducing a system of three basic needs that users can monitor and develop in each area to make the robot more adept. Where Cozmo previously had Daily Challenges that could be completed, each Cozmo now has three primary needs — Play, Energy and Tune-up — and will exhibit certain behaviors if any need isn’t being met. Playing games, performing tricks and seeing human faces all qualify as Play, and the device’s Power Cubes can be used in Play as well, in addition to filling out the Energy demand by “feeding” Cozmo. Tune-ups are exactly what they sound like, making sure the robot is in good enough working order to fulfill the Play and Energy requirements.
The companion app will help keep track of how the user is doing raising its electronic pet and provide new upgrades, extra content or “Spark” treats when things are going well. The game will no longer use “Bits,” but filling each of Cozmo’s needs each day will yield a token, and once a user has three tokens they can be swapped for a “bonus box,” which can contain bonus sparks and unlocks for Cozmo’s upgrades. Updating to the latest software won’t wipe out any existing progress or Sparks, so anything already accumulated will be available for use in the system’s new economy.
For those who don’t currently have a Cozmo, Anki is also releasing a Collector’s Edition ($180) starting today, which comes with a robot, a charger and three interactive Power Cubes. Read our review of the original Cozmo for more details about what this little robot can do.