I originally bought this Vector robot for $60 on Amazon when the company Anki went out of business. My only goal was to hack him to use as a voice assistant to HA. It seemed like a nice complete robot platform package. I used the Conversation API in HA which made this pretty smooth.
I have had him for so many years now and my dream for him finally came true today.
Thanks for all the hard work everyone has done that enabled me to get to this point.
Daaamn the animations on that robot are so cute
Why the word “assist” between the wake word and the sentence?
Anki modeled the robot after Wall-E and mixed its emotions with animals like dogs and cats. So it is a very emotional-looking entity while it runs around. Usually, robots are just like steril A to B. This thing will fall asleep, start randomly snoring, then wake up all groggy, stagger around, and have random gestures while it wanders around and pounces on stuff. It was ahead of its time and its life was cut short and still nothing touches it to this day. A lot of copycats though.
The robot has quite a breath of internal commands so you don’t want to collide with them. Technically though you may not need a pre-trigger word as it doesn’t have a “turn off/on” command for anything, so you could probably use that. Then though you are limiting yourself to all these sub-conditions. I wanted to make it super easy to deal with so what it does is just detect “assist” then it dumps anything after that to the home assistant agent to deal with (I wanted to use Home-LLM with him through HA). Then you can ask anything to the bot without limitations. Vector will then read the response back from an agent in his voice. That was the other thing I wanted as he has a fun cute robot voice too.
Not to scare people but a word of caution to people wanting one
Another company called DDL bought the IP for Anki Gear and attempted to keep it going with multiple Kickstarters but they seemed to have liquidated their staff and were suing companies with look-like devices. (Loona, Emo) They are on pretty shaky grounds financially with everything now. They were trying to switch their servers to Azure but there is no information on this happening (I don’t recommend anyone to buy him for the inflated prices in hopes of using him with official servers) unless you find him for dirt cheap and know what you are getting into (he has glitches/bugs with no way to fix them). There is an unofficial discord for him here Vector & Friends to find out more.
Just wanted to get that warning out before showing their website.
The other commands he has
When you run him on Wire-Pod you are not using DDL servers so it is pretty slick to have him still alive without DDL’s servers running. He otherwise would just wander around without the ability to communicate with him. Wire-Pod pretty much enables all his features locally without a cloud connection.
Added a little Extra automation to use his TTS engine for notifications through HA!
I love the cuteness of this gadget/robot but patting it put me in the uncanny valley
If I remember well multiple bot were able to interact with eachother