Anki has just unveiled a little robot companion that reminds us quite a bit of Disney’s WALL-E. Meant to be a prototype on the robotic personality frontier, Cozmo comes equipped with an advanced ‘emotion engine’ that allows it to engage and respond to its environment in a variety of unpredictable ways. It is, in a sense, a character.

The playful little bot delights in destruction, snores when it’s on its charger, recognizes different people’s faces (and likes some people more than others based on experience), all while communicating its emotions through expressive, LED eyes and an R2-D2-like voice.

We want one.

The hamster-sized robot serves no practical use, but that’s kind of the point. Anki’s idea was to create a toy to make real the promises of science-fiction that have long gone unfulfilled: those of physical robots with distinguishable personalities. Cozmo seeks to pave the way for similar robot pals, and it will likely become a staple desktop companion for tech enthusiasts and will terrify and bewilder house cats across the nation.

Cozmo interacts with its physical world and communicates through a variety of actions and expressions, but it also will be able to interact with you via a dedicated Android or iOS app. This robot’s personality will develop in unpredictable ways as you interact with it, and it is capable of learning basic skills or tasks, not unlike a puppy.

This robot’s personality will develop in unpredictable ways as you interact with it.

Anki’s Cozmo will be available in the US in October at the incredibly reasonable price of $180, $160 for pre-orders. Anki is also making available a developers’ kit so tinkerers can play with and modify Cozmo’s personality and capabilities. You can pre-order yours today by clicking the button below.

What are your thoughts regarding this AI robot with personality? A waste of money, or would you like to start seeing more products like this? Let us know your opinion in the comments!