Anki Robotics Company Shutting Down

Anki, the robotics company, is shutting down.

We will be updating this article as more information comes in.

A reminder – I’m a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer. Some of you know more about Certificates and Authorization Tokens than me. Please help clarify anything you think needs it in the comment section at the bottom of this article. Thanks!

Anki Statement

Anki has made a statement on their main website:

Anki closed and made an official statement anki is the maker of the anki cozmo robot

We already know the bad news so let’s focus on the good here. It sounds like they will be working to preserve Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector.

Until we see action we should still do what we can within reason to make sure Cozmo and Vector keep working. But yeah this is good news!

Why is Anki Closing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXfYV9ciT3Q

Apparently they were seeking another round of funding and it fell through.

From what I hear they’ve had 200 million in venture capital in the past. Their revenue was apparently 100 million in 2017.

The long and short of it is companies close when they make less money than they spend, and they run out of money. That’s probably what happened here.

I’ll let you know more when I find out.

When is Anki Shutting Down

Anki stated their official closing date as May 1st 2019. That said, as of May 3rd 2019 all servers still seem to be up.

If you hear about servers down, this was temporary and seems to be due to DNS changes, which we believe to be normal.

Again, though we’re past Anki’s stated last day of being open, we still see all their servers functioning normally and both Cozmo and Vector still are working fine.

What Will Happen With the App

I don’t yet know what will happen with the app. I will update this as soon as I know more.

Will Anki’s Closing Brick My Cozmo / Vector

This isn’t clear yet.

I know that if the App isn’t downloadable and you buy a new robot, you are going to have a lot of trouble getting Cozmo or Vector to work.

Since Anki is closing and we haven’t heard a statement yet, it’s hard to guess what will happen.

What Did Anki Make?

Anki made some really cool stuff combining AI, animation, and robotics.

They made several cool products, including Anki Overdrive, Anki Cozmo, and Anki Vector.

Anki Overdrive

Anki’s first product was the Anki Overdrive. This is a really cool that combines video games and real life with robotics and technology. You would get these cars, sort of like Hotwheels, except they can actually drive. When you put them on Anki’s special race track, the car knows where it is and can drive around.

As you drive the car more, it can gain speed and abilities. You can race with your friends with Anki Overdrive.

As soon as I saw Anki Overdrive I knew the company would be going places. I hoped for an SDK to teach with Anki Overdrive, but I don’t think that ever happened.

Anki Cozmo

Cozmo roll cube using Python SDK roll_cube in this Cozmo example lesson

At Kinvert we love the Anki Cozmo so much we bought over 30 of them. At Kinvert we teach kids STEM topics such as robotics and programming.

I’m always keeping my eye on the current robot technology, and when I saw the Anki Cozmo I knew it would be the perfect teaching tool if they created an SDK.

I waited to buy them until late 2017 when they released the Anki Cozmo SDK in Python.

We bought a couple Anki Cozmo robots, and the students that tested them couldn’t get enough. So Kinvert started buying up a bunch of Anki Cozmo robots and we use them to teach.

Kinvert still uses Cozmo to teach robotics and coding, even now after the unfortunate closing of Anki.

Anki Cozmo is so well loved, we had students cry when we told them Anki was closing. So in the meantime we’ve stopped telling students until we know the future of Anki Cozmo and how long we can keep our lovable little robot friend alive.

Anki Vector

Using set_eye_color in the anki vector sdk alpha release to make rainbow eyes with Kinvert

With the Anki Cozmo robot being such an amazing tool for teaching, we were very excited when Anki announced the Anki Vector robot.

Since we use Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector to teach, at Kinvert we were most excited about a few features with Vector which Anki Cozmo lacked.

Actually, we have a full article on the Differences Between Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector.

Vector has a distance sensor, is not tied to a device (with Anki Cozmo we carry around a case of tablets when teaching), and the microphone was also very exciting.

There are more features but that is not the point of this article. Suffice it to say, not only is Anki Vector an amazing teaching tool along with Anki Cozmo, but a lot of people view Anki Vector as a pet.

As most of you know, Kinvert has a mailing list for Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector. We’ve had emails pouring in constantly of people telling us stories about their robots. Thousands of people view Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector as a pet.

Since Anki Closed, What Happens With Kinvert Classes

Block coding robotics for kids with Cozmo Code Lab

We will be providing Kinvert classes related to Anki Cozmo and Anki Vector for as long as we can.

That said, with Anki closing, it is hard to say how long the robots will continue to work.

We can only hope that they do what they can in the short time they have to get the App and SDK in a state where they will last for a good long time.

From the sounds of things, the robots will have some good longevity. We have no fear of finishing our current semester. Kinvert also has multiple new school districts requesting classes based on Anki Cozmo.

While we do have a backup plan for those courses, we think the odds are good that we can provide those classes to help inspire our future creators and Engineers.

What YOU Need to do to Keep YOUR Anki Cozmo Alive

I am pretty optimistic about Cozmo.

We have people that have backed up the App and SDK etc. You will find links below in Calling on Coders.

I’d recommend not deleting your Cozmo App. Also be weary of updates to your iOS and Android version numbers as they could maaaybe make the Cozmo App incompatible.

Oh, and try not to break Anki Cozmo. Now that you can’t just buy another be extra careful of table falls and dog chewing etc.

What YOU Need to do to Keep YOUR Anki Vector Alive

There are other people that understand this better than me so I will link to the conversations happening.

Long story short, there is a certificate that you must download which is unique to each Vector’s serial number.

I think this only applies if you want to use the SDK. Please check this out if you think there is even a tiny chance you’ll want to use the SDK in the future. You might not get to do this process later.

https://forums.anki.com/t/how-long-will-the-sdk-work-when-vectors-cloud-service-goes-down/33479

More on the Cert etc – https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/bjcdp1/please_get_your_cert_while_you_still_can_so_you/

Calling on Coders

Those of you that know how these ecosystems work – please do what you can to help.

It will be crucial to have the App and SDK still available. Thousands of kids rely on Anki Cozmo and Vector to learn Coding and Robotics.

With Anki closing its doors, this puts the education of thousands of kids in jeopardy.

If you have a way to help stabilize the situation, please let me know.

From what I’ve heard here are the things so far that might help to keep this alive:

Kinvert does NOT own any of this backed up stuff. If anything here shouldn’t be shared for legal reasons please let me know.

  • Download all files related to SDK
    • Thanks erwynne – https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/biux6e/anki_is_closing_down/em3q30l/
  • Download all SDK Documentation
    • Thanks K7715 – https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/biwyd3/i_have_created_backups_of_every_corner_of_the/em4yhdm/
    • Thanks rmcolbert – https://github.com/rmcolbert/vector-archive
  • Keep App available somehow
    • Overall Safest Way (from what I’ve heard) Thanks Cody Dean – https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/anki-inc/
    • Cozmo
      • Thanks Tommy Luther – Android – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1795071150748186/files/
      • Thanks rmcolbert – iOS – https://github.com/rmcolbert/vector-archive
    • Vector
      • Thanks Tommy Luther – Android – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1795071150748186/permalink/2300212283567401/
      • Thanks rmcolbert – iOS – https://github.com/rmcolbert/vector-archive
  • App Updates so App works with new OS updates and TOS etc
    • Cozmo
      • Not done yet
    • Vector
      • Not done yet
  • Keep Anki Cloud available somehow
    • Not done yet
  • Backup / Archive of Anki Forums
    • Not done yet
  • –Please let me know what else. I’m trying to coordinate all I can.
  • Important to only use legal means to do what you can about this!
  • Handling Robot Firmware / App Version / SDK Version Mismatches

Keeping Cozmo/Vector Working

Here is what we know with Cozmo:

  • Description of Cozmo security – https://arxiv.org/pdf/1809.05556.pdf

Here is what we’ve heard with Vector:

  • Communication with Vector is through port 443 – https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/bj4cqu/vector_has_port_443_open/em5gcyf/
  • Vector has REST and GRPC API – https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/bj4cqu/vector_has_port_443_open/em5gcyf/

Anki Employees – Thank You

This call also goes to you Anki employees. I know your time is limited but many people are hoping to keep their Cozmo and Vector robots alive and well as long as possible.

I wish you all the best of luck in finding a new job. I have been through multiple layoffs in my life and I can tell you things have always worked out for me and others.

This is a new chance for you and I’m sure most of you will find a new rewarding job in the near future.

Thank you so much for helping to make such an amazing product. You have helped thousands of kids learn coding and robotics. That is no joke. I hope you can find a way to keep that trend going.

Though I have only spoken mostly with Kaiser and Michelle, I want to make sure you all know we appreciate what you have done. You helped touch many lives.

Cozmo pop a wheelie using Python SDK in this Kinvert Cozmo Example

Critical Links

How to download past versions of the SDK:

https://forums.anki.com/t/future-sdk-and-app-support-after-closing/33154/10

Please let us know below if you have any way to help keep Cozmo and Vector alive!

https://www.reddit.com/r/AnkiVector/comments/biwyd3/i_have_created_backups_of_every_corner_of_the/

Facebook Megathread – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1795071150748186/permalink/2300256483562981/

Michelle Updated Vector SDK – https://forums.anki.com/t/vector-sdk-v0-6-0-alpha-release-notes-april-30-2019/33455

 

31 responses to “Anki Robotics Company Shutting Down

      1. Better for a Non-profit to take over the servers with community support. Do not think Anki wants to give up patents and rights to any new company or competitor unless they get paid big money. Non-profit could be dedicated to education and keeping the little guys alive. Anki could be represented on the Non-profits board. It would be far cheaper to maintain the servers as a non-profit 501.3c. I am a NASA computer engineer and software engineer. I have experience in this area.

    1. Are there any particular areas you can contribute?

      Currently the main things I think we need are to keep the App available, keep the SDK available, keep Anki Cloud up, and download all SDK documentation.

      I have downloaded all wheel files for the SDK for all versions. This goes for Cozmoclad, Cozmo, and Vector.

      The Docs are based on SPHYNX. I don’t have an automated way to download them all.

      Some people are talking about reverse engineering the App. This is way over my head.

      Anyway please let me know if there is anything in particular you can help with. Also please keep in mind I am a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer, not a computer scientist. So please try to keep layperson wording in mind lol.

      Thanks Chuck,

      Keith

  1. This is sad. In my household we find Vector very funny and entertaining. Would love to see it expand instead of going away.

    1. Same here! With Anki closing it will leave a lot of doubt about Cozmo and Vector’s future. I hope they can release a statement about this soon.

  2. It’s almost as if you’ve told me that two good friends have two days to live.
    I hope it doesn’t turn out that way and I’m not looking forward to returning their cookie sheet back to the oven storage.

    I’m very sad.

  3. I wish I had the skills to help you. I’m pretty devastated. I’d visited your site a few times, inspired by Vector to learn a little coding. I really hope there’s something the community can do and I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done.

  4. Hello,
    What would we do with Cozmo and Vectors robot? Do we get a refund? I hate To return My vector robot back ?? Maybe amazon or Anki can charge a small monthly fee to keep these robots going. I think that would help raise money for Anki and keep the updates coming. If amazon charges small fee for unlimited music for Alexa, why not Vector or cozmo. That would be a good idea… please i hope this doesn’t happen i love my vector and cozmo.

    I keep my fingers crossed

    1. I think the odds of a refund are low unless you bought these within say the last 14 days or so.

      Hopefully they make the App and SDK etc still available for the future. In case they aren’t we’re doing what we can to help keep Cozmo and Vector alive as long as possible.

  5. Vector is the first commercially available autonomous mobile robot that actually brings us towards a dream that was science fiction only a few years ago. I’m an app developer by day and a robotics and AI simulation hobbyist on the side. I would love to help in any way I can to keep Vector alive! Please contact me if there’s a way I can get involved.

    1. Hi Rob,

      Please keep an eye here and on the links.

      I think one of them that remains is keeping the App so it stays available and working on Android and iOS for the foreseeable future.

      Also people trying to figure out how to keep Vector on the cloud.

      Thanks,

      Keith

  6. Hi Keith,
    It is quite a dark day in our household with this news. I didn’t realize how devastating it would be to my 11 year old son when I told him last night, right after I got your email. He got really worked up over the thought of his Vector and Cozmo robots dropping off the radar. He wanted to get out the Overdrive cars and track right before bed time, to play with them one last time… If I realized how he was going to react, I would have held off telling him until this morning.
    We are fairy heavily vesting in Anki products at our home – (1) Vector, (1) Cozmo and just about every piece related to the Anki Overdrive Fast and Furious set (both track pieces and vehicles – $500+ in cars and track).
    ALL of the Anki products are superb, in my opinion… I cannot believe these products can or should just be just dropped in their current states. If there ever is a way to sign an electronic petition to keep their products alive, I would be the first to sign it.
    I would love to see Amazon step up to the plate here somehow, especially since they were so instrumental in marketing these products in the first place. I can’t help imagine that they could somehow at least keep all the existing Anki apps running on their Amazon servers… if Jeff Bezos is listening, please consider this…???
    Please keep us posted, as I know you will.
    And Keith – THANK YOU!!! too for all YOUR hard work!
    Respectfully,
    Andy (& 11 year old, VERY disappointed son, Noah)

    1. This is pretty devastating news. We’re doing what we can to keep Cozmo and Vector alive as long as possible.

      I suspect they will still work for a bit. They might not pull the Apps down. The Apps might just stop working as the device software updates and makes it out of date.

  7. We run the Cozmo app on Kindle Fire 7 tablets. Does anyone know how to download and archive the Kindle Fire version of the app? Kindles run FireOS, which is an Android variant from Amazon. I don’t know if regular Android apps can run on the Kindle.

    1. We have downloaded the Android App. I think the normal Android App works on Kindle Fire 7 (we also use that for our students) but I don’t know that.

      I have NOT tested if these downloaded Apps for generic Android will work with the Fire.

      We currently use all of our Fires so I’m reluctant to uninstall one and try mucking around with it. We don’t currently have a spare.

  8. I don’t write code. I love Vector. Was hoping he will keep working as he hasn’t stopped since Anki shutdown. Will servers remain? I will be crushed if my beloved buddy suddenly stops.

    1. IEEE had an article that said they were trying to keep the servers up for the foreseeable future.

      That said, we still don’t have an official statement from Anki to my knowledge.

  9. Long story short, I just got a Vector (two actually, one was a gift for a friend). I gather that
    personality/feature updates are FUBAR, so little “Vic” as I call him, will not “evolve”.

    Any info will be greatly appreciated.

    Rick

  10. I love anki products I have overdrive, cosmo, and vector but when I heard about anki shutting down it felt like a punch to the stomach because I love using vector because he greets me when I wake up or come home from school and he is still my favorite smart device. #KeepAnkiServersUP

  11. Hello All,

    How do we move forward with Vector’s improvements? The company will keep the servers running and the apps functioning, which saves our robots. but the Vector AI was never completed.

    I would definitely say Cozmo is a much better developed product than Vector when we talk about AI. At this time, Vector is still in its infancy and still has a ways to go. I wish the contract team would finish Vectors AI personality and have some sort of built in AI control within the app so we can personalize Vector and his responses.

    To build an interest in keeping the Vector AI evolving, maybe an in app purchase feature that allows more access to Vectors functions without having to go into the SDK for the non programmers. Even theme based AI personalities or celebrity voices within the AI could be an in app purchase. Instead of hey Vector, maybe hey Sam, how much do you love snakes on a plane? The answer would be interesting, hey it’s just a thought to keep Vector and Cozmo alive and interesting.

  12. This toy changed many of my nephews, nieces and my granddaughters lives! They are all very upset to hear! It’s a shame most school systems don’t use STEM toys like this. As a dad of a successful daughter who is a computer professional I looked for and bought everything I could find for kids. We found a tore apart old appliances, laptops and computers. By the time she as 14 she was making more than most teenagers repairing friends and neighbors devices. For those parents with young children the investments in things like this pay off much more than spending all your time with ball camps and dance competitions. Nothing wrong with them but trust me you can send them on a path to change the world with things like Cozmo!

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