Cozmo by Anki

Screengrab via Anki/YouTube

Can you help Cozmo the robot escape a Reddit-themed prison?

The only catch is that you won't be controlling Cozmo alone.

Internet Culture

Published Nov 14, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 11:09 am CDT

Looking for something to do right now? How about helping a tiny robot navigate rooms filled with puzzles? The only catch is that you won’t be controlling the robot alone. Anyone who visits this Reddit thread can have their say on what the robot does next.

The robot in question is Cozmo, a cute, mechanical toy developed by Anki. Cozmo’s makers (or marketers) set up a series of seven rooms and trapped the robot inside. Hidden in the rooms are three golden key cubes Cozmo needs to find to escape. To make matters more challenging, each room contains unique challenges and obstacles.

Cozmo comes equipped with artificial intelligence and is normally controlled by smartphone app. For this livestream event, Cozmo has been rigged to respond to the Reddit thread. Will viewers work together to help Cozmo escape? Or will they send the robot on some other mission of their own devising?

If you follow video games, this might sound familiar. The Twitch Plays series uses a similar setup, in which viewers enter comments in Twitch’s chat window to control a video game. This Cozmo livestream works like that, but with a real-life robot navigating challenges in the real world.

The rooms that make up Cozmo’s prison have been themed around popular subreddits, including /Gaming and /Showerthoughts. The event has a time limit, so you’ll have to watch (and maybe participate) to see if Cozmo can escape before time is up.

In a statement, Anki chief marketing officer Craig Rechenmacher said, “At Anki, it’s in our DNA to constantly question and push the boundaries of what’s possible. This is a guiding principle that defines all facets of our company, including product development as well as marketing. Working with Wieden+Kennedy Lodge, we identified Reddit as a great platform to introduce Cozmo to a new audience, not only due to undeniable influence and reach of the site, but also the unique community that make up Reddit and their propensity to embrace new, innovative technologies.”

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*First Published: Nov 14, 2017, 3:28 pm CST