Wonderful Engineering

Kiki Is A Robotic Animal That Wants To Be Your Companion

Zoetic AI is developing Kiki that will be available at a price tag of $1499 when it finally debuts as a domestic robotic pet. Kiki will be a desktop companion robot similar to Cozmo but without mobility.

Zoetic AI CEO and co-founder Mita Yun, said, ‘There’s a lot of robots that roam around on the floor. Kiki will want to keep them very close to you, as closely as possible. So we figured a desktop robot is the closest they can be.’ Kiki is capable of rotating its head and torso for tracking what it sees and hears but cannot follow through since it doesn’t have any wheels. It can, however, dance to the music!

It has a height of 10 inches and features a robust build. It has been incorporated with loads of sensory equipment and is dense. It uses the camera that has been mounted in its nose to see and listens using a quartet of beamforming and echo-canceling microphones. It can speak individual words but carries out primary communication using its expressive IPS eyes that can convey a variety of emotions ranging from anger, fear, surprise, and joy.

Yun further said, ‘We don’t want to be constantly streaming user sensitive data to a cloud to process. One, it’s slow. Two, there’s a possibility for middleman attack, so someone can intercept that package. We handle it, we actually run all of our AI, on board. Anything that’s on the board, we also encrypt. So even if your neighbor kidnapped your Kiki, we don’t store human readable content. We always convert them to embeddings, vectors, and matrices too so that it’s secure and encrypted on top of that.’ The only time that Kiki needs to connect to the Internet is when it needs to update its software.

What makes Kiki stand out from other robot companions that are being offered is its brain. Yun said, ‘When you first get it, it’s more like a baby. And the more time you spend with it, the more it will evolve, and they’ll learn more from you.’ In essence, Kiki relies on a learning engine that is installed between its input stimulation and its output behaviors. This enables each unit of Kiki to develop and implement a unique strategy for achieving its goals.

Yun explained, ‘We divide [that goal] into drives and emotion. The robot wants to have interaction, and he wants to have stimulation. Like you don’t want to be too full or too hungry. And then for interaction, you don’t want to be too overwhelmed, and you don’t want to be too lonely.’ Based on how you interact with Kiki, it might become dog-like or cat-like.

As of right now, Kiki is raising funds on Kickstarter, and you can get your hand on a unit for a pledge of $799!