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Review: Anki Cozmo programmable robot

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

There have been a slew of interesting consumer robot products which offer smartphone integration and remote control as well as the ability to be programmed. Anki’s Cozmo robot is an intriguing example of how far we’ve come.

A tiny robot that fits in the palm of your hand, Cozmo is surprisingly complex. Put of the box, the robot is charged in its own dock and controlled using a smartphone app. This is a typical approach but there’s layers of interaction. The more time you spend playing with Cozmo, the more points it earns which upgrade its personality and it skillset.

Accompanied by three plastic blocks, Cozmo can be asked to pick up and stack these blocks, you can also play various games with Cozmo that eventually increase in complexity. Cozmo is no mere toy with a limited set of controls or commands, its a complex computer with over 300 parts and it even has an emotion processor which makes it somewhat able to react to situations with simulated emotions (i.e. if it wins a game, it celebrates by spinning around and makes celebratory sounds). Unlike other robots I’ve tried, it also helps that Cozmo has a face with multiple expressions and these are accompanied by sounds.

We took our Cozmo robot with us on vacation and my four year old son enjoyed playing with it. While you need a smartphone app to turn it on and select games or activities, you can pretty much interact with Cozmo directly, without needing to refer to the smartphone.

We played various games of keep-away, where we tried to remove a block before Cozmo tagged it (the robot is exceptional at this). We also played a game where we had to beat Cozmo by tapping on similarly coloured blocks. This is a game of quick reaction and while you can sometimes beat the robot’s speed, it does compete as well as a human opponent would.


There’s a degree of sophistication in the software and the hardware that make up the Anki Cozmo. While easily dismissed as a toy from its appearance, this is actually an honest to goodness programmable robot that also has something of a personality. Cozmo is churning, affectionate and mischievous. It offers opportunities for fun, learning and of course coding for users 10 years old and up.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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