The closure of consumer robotics firms previously considered potentially game-changing has diminished industry prospects of social robots eventually achieving mainstream acceptance.
The shutdown of San Francisco startup Anki, manufacturer of the toy robot Cozmo, is the latest sign of flagging hopes.
Earlier casualties include Jibo, maker of a talking speaker, and Mayfield Robotics, which discontinued a camera-equipped robot advertised as a roving, nanny-like monitor/companion.
Klick Health's Yan Fossat, whose Canada-based company is investigating medical applications for social robotics, said physical robots cannot compete with non-embodied artificial intelligence tools, because their service benefits do not offset their costs.
Said Anki CEO Boris Sofman, "You cannot sell a robot for $800 or $1,000 that has capabilities of less than an Alexa."
From Associated Press
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