KEYi Tech released a new Loona FAQ on Facebook. It reads as follows (I have emphazised the answers so they can be better differentiated from the questions):
1. Really thinking of buying Loona but wanted to know if you got a permission from Anki or Dreamlabs?(The voice sounds very much like Cozmo and Vector robots. Was there any collaboration with DDW? Even the facial expressions look similar.)
Loona’s appearance and expression animation was all designed by the KEYi Tech in-house team. We have a professional IP partner to help us assess the corresponding risks and ensure that Loona’s crowdfunding will not be shut down due to copyright lawsuits.
2. Will the SDK allow to use a local speech recognition server?
SDK does not support the use of local speech recognition servers.
3. Are the customized programs stored in Loona and then activated automatically or is it necessary to enter and activate them from time to time through the application and cannot they be stored?
The first version of the software requires manual activation. It will be stored in Loona while it is running until it exits execution or until a new custom program is executed. We will take into account about customizing programs can be integrated into Loona interactions.
4. Will I have to pay a monthly fee to use Loona?
There is no subscription fee for Kickstarter backers. Lifetime Free for all backers!
5. Is she able to be outside?
Please avoid rain and snow when you take Loona out.
6. How does the robot behave when you hold it in your arms? If I’m sitting and the robot is on my lap, will it try to run away?
Loona is like a pet with a lot of interesting behaviors waiting for you to explore. Trying to run away on the leg sounds interesting and we will discuss this design later!
7. How fast is she in fps/mph? Max is 900rpm but what is the dimension of the wheels?
Loona’s speed is 1m/s for four wheels and 0.7m/s for two wheels; The wheel diameter is 60mm.
8. I forgot to add Charging dock or/and Christmas delivery to my pledge, how can I change my reward?
Option 1: You can edit and select the add-ons currently. Please visit the project page and click the “Manage your pledge” button located at the top of the Kickstarter page. And click the “Edit reward”, find the add-ons option, then you are able to add the charging dock or/and Christmas delivery to your pledge.
Option 2: You can add Christmas delivery or/and a charging dock later through the PledgeBox platform when the campaign ends. (We will send you the link through email, please make sure you submitted your email address in the survey).
Comments on that:
1: I guess they mean Digital Dream Labs instead of “Dreamlabs” and “DDL” instead of “DDW”. It is good to hear that they have IP specialists. I think if DDL would have seen any chance to mess with the Loona project, they would have already done it. Loona is far away from vector and the voice and eye animations we saw so fare are completely different. So probably not even Hanchar saw a chance in winning a lawsuit …
2: That is very unfortunate and absolutely not satisfactory, as it creates the same risk that all cloud-based robots have: If the company goes bancrupt or shuts down the servers you basically have a very expensive paperweight. That is not acceptable and KEYi should AT LEAST open source the server code.
3: It looks like the SDK to create new functions for Loona will be very limited, if you only can push one custom program to the robot and you will have to delete that to upload another one. Unfortunately there is no information how big the programs can be, or bettrer: how much storage is available for that. I-f it is enough it should be possible to include multiple functions in one custom program. But since KEYi is very small lipped when it comes to informations on this, we do not know for certain what will be possible for now.
4: See 2. “Lifetime” means lifetime of the company. With luck. Without luck they see at some time in the future what the monthly server costs are and shutdown the servers with some cheaps excuses. It happens all the time and is not without precedent. It would be preferable to get a local server option.