Dreams of social robots dashed again

Hopes that the tech industry was on the cusp of rolling out personal robots into homes are dimming now that several once-promising consumer robotics companies have shut down.

The latest casualty is San Francisco startup Anki, maker of the playful toy robot Cozmo. When it was released in 2016, the feisty pet robot that recognizes its owner’s face and zooms around on tank treads seemed like the start of a new wave of sociable machines.

That dream ended this week when Anki CEO and co-founder Boris Sofman gathered company employees to deliver the news that all of them would be laid off Wednesday.

The demise of Anki and other consumer robotics companies also left robot enthusiasts wondering if the time has not yet come for such machines.

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