Anki’s toy robots are getting a second chance at life


Digital Dream Labs purchased assets belonging to San Francisco-based Anki when it shut down after running out of money last year, and now, you can back the ed-tech startup’s efforts to revive one of Anki’s beloved robots, Vector.

Digital Dream Labs recently launched a new Kickstarter with a $75,000 goal to fund its work. After just a few days, it has already raised over $135,000 from 1,850 backers. Jacob Hanchar, the CEO of Digital Dream Labs, said it has expanded its staff to 13 since the acquisition of Anki and that it hopes to hire 31 more people now. “The Kickstarter is the first phase to start getting going with this whole idea”, he said.

To continue the journey of Vector, Digital Dream Labs is focusing on two projects. The first, called The Escape Pod, is going to allow you to “take Vector off of his external servers while still being able to function perfectly”, Hanchar explained. In other words, Vector will become 100 per cent independent. The second project, called Open Source Kit for Robots, is in response to the “thousands of emails” Digital Dream Labs received.

The company said it wants to enable the Vector community to create more fun features for Vector. And, if Digital Dream Labs reaches $500,000 or even $1,000,000 more in its Kickstarter, it will move onto phase two and three of its plan, which involves building the backend of its systems and organising the community to a point where users can license back features they’ve designed.

Eventually, Digital Dream Labs said it wants to offer an operating system for other autonomous vehicles. So, from what we can tell, while Digital Dream Labs is promising to revive Anki’s tractor-looking, animated robots, it’s still very much a developer-focused effort at this point.

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