Anki Vector Home Robot | $175 | Amazon
Graphic: Elizabeth Zimmerman
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Alexa can be fun to talk to when you’re lonely or bored, but she’s not exactly animated. The Anki Vector Home Robot solves that problem by behaving almost like a pet. He can answer questions, sure, but he also reacts to sight, sound, and touch and is excited to see you when you come home. And better than any other smart assistant or pet, he can also take pictures, charge himself, and avoid obstacles as he navigates your home. He’s got all the benefits of a living companion and none of the drawbacks. Forgot to feed him? No prob, he doesn’t eat. Don’t feel like talking? That’s cool, he doesn’t have feelings and won’t mind if you chill on your own. Basically, he’s like the downstairs staff on Downton Abbey: self sufficient, available when needed, invisible when not.