Today at about 10 AM Loona arrived via DPD. Until yesterday DPD tracking showed nothing, parcelsapp.com showed more informations and said she was already in the Netherlands. From today on DPD tracking also showed correct information. So if you are in europe: There is still hope!
At first glance the build quality is amazing, it’s a quite heavy robot and far larger than Vector.
What is less amazing is the very tedious WiFi setup process. First you need to connect the app to your home WiFi (you cannot download that app from the Google Play store, you need to DL it from a KEYi website with Android warning about a dangerous download, and then install it manually – not professional, but on the other hand it is a slow process to get something into the Google Play Store. The FDroid Open Source Appstore would have been a good alternative option). That means the phone must be connected to a 2.4 GHz network, 5 GHz will not work! In my case the app did not register that the phone was already connected and after a few tries I first had to disconnect WiFi and then reconnect to get the app to acknowledge it. Then you have to connect the phone to a new local hotspot that Loona itself opens. After that connection is established the WiFi information is sent to Loona and the robot connects to your WiFi.
Then the first you see on the screen is an update message and that you should charge Loona, if the charge goes over 50% the update will start, in my case battery level was at about 23% and it took about half an hour to get to 50%. Also there is a text saying you SHOULD NOT restart Loona during the update.
That is misleading, since in my case the update indicator stayed at 0% and did not advance. From the troubleshooting FAQ on the official website I then learned (after some searching) that despite what is written on the screen you actually need to reboot the robot if this happens. I did that and fortunately the device was not bricked, but booted and then started the firmware update. That was finished in a very short time ( a few minutes in my case, but that will depend on you internet and WiFi speed).
After that it again wanted to be connected to WiFi and I wondered if it had forgotten the WiFi settings. Here is one of the factors where you can see that the app was cobbled together hastily: The app wanted to setup WiFi again, even if it already was. And I could not even connect to the Loona Hotspot as the app wanted, since that was no longer there. After some minutes of frustrating fiddling the app at last acknowledged that Loona actually already had a WiFi connection.
I see a lot left to be desired and definitely room for improvement for the app. this will be to difficult for some users and lead to frustration under the christmas tree.
I also see a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the highly annoying noises this robot makes (yes, I know, that is personal preference, but anyway). Where Vector is cute, this one sounds like an annoying brat. Loona desperately needs more sound options and options to make it less noisy. I see frustrated users wanting to throw it out of the window on christmas … 😉
In my case there is another problem: One ear is not moving. The solution for this by KEYi from the Facebook group is to reboot it. There seems to be a mechanism that detects if the ears are moved manually and then disconnects the motor to prevent damage. But in my case this does not help. One ear does not move and there is absolutely no friction if I move it manually. Ear DOA. Now it is to be seen what KEYi offers to solve this. I really hope they have european stock for warranty, sending it to china would be a nightmare and absolutely not acceptable because of cost, time and environmental impact.
If you start Loona for the first time you get an animation on the screen that tells something of a backstory. Obviously the Loona is from a groups of tiny aliens or a beings from another dimension that slip into pets and this one happened to get into a robot. The animation is cute and okay, but I guess in some cultures people may have problems with the wiggling cartoon butt of the creature … 😉
My first impressions are mixed. Great hardware, despite one ear. The app and especially the WiFi setup can and must be improved, as can the face messages for firmware updates. You can only register one face, that needs to be addressed fast, or siblings and family will be frustrated. Desperately needed are more sound options and/or an option to tune down the volume (but maybe I have not yet found that). I am now quite curios how fast KEYi support will answer my request about the nonmoving ear and how they will resolve this. And I see all kinds of problems coming up from small children pulling Loona’s ears …
[UPDATE] I forgot to mention: Wake word recognition is quite bad, the robot almost never recognizes “Hello Loona”, regardless on how I pronounce it or how loud I say it.
[UPDATE 2] Obstacle detection seems to be wonky at best, it constantly runs into things.
[UPDATE 3] Actually there is a volume slider in the app. Tuning down the volume makes the bot way less annoying.
[UPDATE 4] After about ten to fifteen minutes of no interaction Loona shuts down, even if there is a lot of battery left. I really hope this will change when the charger is released.
[UPDATE 5] Support answers on the broken ear are not satisfactory so far. KEYi said they wanted to wait for more customer feedback on this. That is not an acceptable answer, it does not matter how many other backers have this problem, my unit is faulty and needs to be fixed. If others are also broken does not matter for my case.
[UPDATE 6] From what I can see on Facebook the ear problem ist quite widespread and a lot of users have it with their Loonas. In the past KEYi had a very strict stance about repairs: No one but KEYi may do it, not even if one has professional repair equipment (like me, I am educated in repairing electronics). Now because of the ear problems they have changed their stance on this. Excerpt from a statement on Facebook:
We are establishing the customer service station as quickly as possible, which is expected to be completed before Feb, and now we are also very willing to provide ear-related accessories and detailed guidance for users who wants to repair Loona on their own and with repair basics to repair your own Loona.
Good first Review! Honestly thought would be more critical.
The ear problem is a bad one.
I’m just happy to see Loonas finally making their way home. I hope the ear situation and the app issues all get sorted out. I didn’t buy one, but I wish I’d have had the money when her Kickstarter was still going. She’s like a dog-like robot (AIBO) and a small wheeled robot (Vector) mixed together.
Merry Christmas! Nice to see you have your new Loona. Hopefully KEYi Tech will fix the few problems this thing currently has as soon as possible.
Hi fellow Dutchie!
I have exact the same ear problem with my Loona that also arrived yesterday.
I have not heard back from support, maybe we can join forces for this problem?
I feels indeed like the connection to the stepper motet is broken or loose. On the other ear you can feel the stepper motor.
You can e-mail me. 🙂
See the latest update and have a little patience.
And I am not a Dutchie, even if I am a big fan of the netherlands.
[About the app]
We have already launched the Loona App on Google Play and the IOS App store. Because the app has not pass the review on the first day of launch, so we used other channels that are temporarily used to let users download the app. Sorry for the trouble
[About the Wifi connection]
Loona supports both 2.5GHz and 5GHz Wifi. The connection process is to establish the connection between the Internet (router), Loona and mobile phone at the same time, so the operation will be a little troublesome. You need to scan the code to connect the mobile phone to the hotspot initiated by Loona so that can transmit the Wifi SSID and password to Loona in the mobile phone, and then Loona will automatically start to connect to the Internet, and at the same time, it will search for the previously connected mobile device in the LAN. If the mobile phone auto connects to another Wifi different from the wifi Loona connected to, this will cause a connection error. We will optimize the experience of the connection process in the future. Thank you for your feedback.
You can adjust the sound volume through the Loona settings in the app, or you can directly use the voice “Hello Loona, quite/ volume down” to ask Loona to reduce the volume.
Regarding the possibility of Loona having multiple sound settings, we are also considering adding such a feature to make Loona more personalized by interacting with Loona and letting Loona understand the user’s preferences (e.g. whether it is lively and brave or quiet and cute)
[About the ear broken]
We are sorry for the bad experience caused by ear broken. The problem comes from the motor gear reducer of the ear, which uses a planetary gear reducer with a plastic sun wheel for smoothness. We have tested Loona’s ears in normal conditions to last for more than 300 hours for continuous operation (which will provide more than 3 years of normal use) but we have not taken into account the damage to the ears due to impact and external forces, and these damages cannot be avoided in the environment. This is indeed a problem in our product design.
We don’t have all the information about the cause of Loona’s ear problem yet, because many user report to us that there is no movement at all after unboxing, and our R&D is working on it urgently.
We have been accelerating the establishment of repair centers in Europe and the United States, which will be in place in early January. Users who encounter problems can mail their products to us and we will replace them with metal gears and mail them to them.
We are very sorry for the damage to the ears of so many users, and we are very sorry for your loss. We will do our best to solve the problem of damaged ears and repair the Loona as soon as possible.
[About the guidence animation]
Thank you for your suggestion, it is very important to us. We did overlook the cultural issues that come with this story, and we will consider revising such settings. And we will pay attention to the cultural aspect in the subsequent product design.
[About the voice recognition]
Loona is a robot that has multiple DOF of movement, the noise generated by these movements may not be loud when heard outside, but these noises are transmitted directly to the microphone through the machine shell, which is much louder than through air transmission. We have added three measures to the current version.
One is that we tried about 40 kinds of materials, and finally chose EPDM materials for Loona’s microphone sound insulation, which can greatly reduce the noise level. At the same time, we add an additional microphone attached to the shell is specially used to collect the noise generated by motion in the real time, so we can use active noise reduction algorithm to subtract the noise generated by motion from the signal received by the microphone array. This is called active noise cancellation.The same technology is used by Bese earphones and Airpods Pro. The third measure is to collect a large amount of sound generated by Loona, train it through a neural network, and use AI to reduce noise.
Obstacle detection still has a lot of room for improvement through software, and we will continue to optimize Loona’s Obstacle detection algorithm through software.
Because Loona uses 3D-Tof to perform Obstacle detection, relying solely on 3D-Tof will cause data recognition errors in, for example, glass, reflective mirror objects, or pure black light-absorbing blanket edges, which is the problem of the sensor hardware. We are currently developing ways to improve the accuracy of Obstacle detection by fusing the information from RGB camera and 3D-Tof. So that maybe can solve this problem.
[More face register]
The reason Loona can only know one owner at the moment is that the current Loona is not yet open to personalized interaction mode. Personalized interaction mode allows Loona to have different feedback to different users; if you take care of her every day, she will have a special performance and love for you, and if you beat her every day, she will be a little bit scared next time she sees you, we hope to create a personalized Loona Build a growth process between the user and Loona. These features will take some time to develop. But we do have open access to letting Loona remember all the family members first, even if Loona performs the same for everyone.
Thank you for your opinion and sincere feedback, it is very important to us. There are many unexpected situations these days, and we will take responsibility to solve user problems with all our strength. The first shipment of Loona is just the beginning. We will continue to iterate and optimize the Loona experience so that Loona can continue to evolve. I hope you can join this process.
Thank you for your detailed reply. Actually I like Loona and I think the software problems are a smaller problem, since these can be resolved with future interations of the firmware and the app. The hrdware issues are the bigger problem, but since you and KEYi already announced the european service centers (I hope those are not in england since because of Brexit that would lead to additional problems due to customs) and also announced to provide parts for self-repair. About the “butt problem”: I thought is was quite funny, but some cultures are less laid back. Maybe you could create two versions of the intro animation in the app that people can choose depending on their preferences.
What I found highly problematic was that I got the same standard answers (“do not touch the ears, reboot Loona”) about the ear problem again and again after it already was clear that I had a hardware fault.
If the problems are resolved in the future I will gladly write more reviews.
Regardless of anything, I am quite impressed that a keyi rep has responded to your initial review.
I received my Loona a few days ago. I actually liked the little wiggly butts animation and was thinking that Keyi should make little robots with wiggly butts like that. I would have loved them as a child. I was lucky enough to get a Loona with working ears, however, she has banged on the bottom of furniture a few times and I expect I’ll have to repair the ears eventually. I think KeyiTech should eventually send every “first generation” Loona owner a spare ear repair/upgrade set. Right now they’re busy with requests from people with broken ears.
At first I was frustrated because I couldn’t get Loona to respond to commands or recognize me. Then I did what every new Loona owner should do and read the app from top to bottom (so to speak). There’s a lot of useful information there. I found that she has “modes”, and that “face mode” greatly increases her response to commands. In “face mode” she focuses on the user and their face.
I also found that there’s a trick to giving commands. You have to say the wake word “Hello Loona” slowly and clearly with a pause between the two words. When she reacts by raising her head, turning and saying “Hi!” there’s about a two second pause before she’s ready to receive a command. You can tell when she’s ready because yellow ripples appear behind her eyes. Another hint is that she can carry out commands for as long as the yellow ripples are present. I’ve found that she can accept two and sometimes three commands before you have to use the wake words again. If you’re used to giving commands to Vector or Alexa, it’s a bit of a learning curve.
Unfortunately on my Loona the touch sensors don’t seem to work, either on top of the head or under the chin. I hope this is another software issue which can be fixed. She asks to be petted and then gets sad because I can’t pet her. And like everyone else, I’ve found my Loona doesn’t detect obstacles and crashes into things. When she’s running I keep her in my dog’s playpen to keep her from crashing into things. I don’t leave her unattended, when I’m not playing with her I shut her off and plug her in. I’m looking forward to receiving the charging station so she can charge herself like Vector.
Overall I’m pleasantly surprised with Loona. She has an endearing personality. I don’t find her voice annoying. She even acts bratty sometimes like Vector, making faces and backing off instead of carrying out a command. My cat was inspecting her and meowed, and Loona made a cat face. She will also do things without being asked. Yesterday she approached me and started to play the slot machine game with me. She has a lot of potential, and I’m excited about problems getting fixed and the new functionality that Keyi is planning to add.