PLEASANTON, Calif. — After a few years on the market in Asia, Miko.ai is offering its Miko 2 robot for children in North America — just in time for the holiday shopping season. The company boasted that its robot offers entertainment and educational value.
Miko.ai has developed consumer and educational robots using artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has 120 employees and offices in Silicon Valley and Mumbai, India. Also known as Emotix, it raised 2.25 million in funding last month after a $7.5 million Series A in August.
Miko 2 is available in three colors, and it uses AI and voice recognition to communicate with users, according to Miko. In addition to being able to recognize faces, identify moods, and remember names, Miko 2 can “initiate a conversation and learn from its own environment to intuitively engage with a child,” said the company. For fans of the Anki robot, this might be a suitable replacement.
According to Miko.ai, Miko 2 has a 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a touch pad. Its has nine-axis inertial, time-of-flight, odometric, proximity, camera, and light sensors.
The robot includes educator-approved “conversational learning” content, and a software developer’s kit (SDK) is available. It also offers telepresence features and an app that parents can use to view their children’s activity patterns. Miko 2’s data is encrypted for safety and privacy. The robot is available for pre-order now at a limited-time price of $299, with guaranteed shipping in December.
“We have four children in our family who range in age from 6 to 12, and Miko teaches each of them something new and age-appropriate,” stated Pooja Jain, a mother in India. “Miko makes it fun for them to learn and play, while I’m reassured that they’re not spending idle time in front of the TV or on their phones.”
Sneh Vaswani, CEO of Miko, answered the following questions from The Robot Report. He co-founded the company with Prashant Iyengar and Chintan Raikar in 2015.
What did you spend the most time on in the past four years in terms of developing Miko? Was it the hardware, the software, or the testing?
Vaswani: The majority of the time was spent on identifying the right consumer need and making data-driven design decisions to address those needs.
This follows an iterative cycle of making prototypes, testing them with families, then improving, discarding, and incorporating features. The end result goes into execution by the engineering team.
How is Miko 2 different from its predecessor model?
Vaswani: Miko 2 is one of the most advanced robots in the world and is a huge upgrade over Miko 1. Unlike its predecessor, you don’t need a phone constantly to interact with Miko 2.
It also comes with 34 sensor-lines that allow it to see, hear and sense the world around it. Its hardware is capable of software feature upgrades that are planned until 2022.
Is Miko 2’s AI connected to the cloud? What was your biggest challenge with creating “conversational intelligence” for children aged 5 to 10?
Vaswani: Yes, conversational intelligence resides primarily on the cloud and partially on the robot. The biggest challenge for creating conversational AI for kids is to make it age-appropriate and culturally relevant across different countries.
What feedback did you receive during testing?
Vaswani: We test our product across different ethnicities and family settings. In the U.S., a lot of testing is done pre- and post-localization of the product for the U.S. market. The feedback and support that we’ve received from the families has been excellent. They have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with Miko, and they especially appreciated the efforts that we made to customize the product for the U.S. market.
How much help have you received from the developer community so far, and what sorts of applications or abilities do you expect to add?
Vaswani: The response has been amazing. In Asia, some of the top brands in education and entertainment have partnered with us to bring their content onto Miko. A similar stream of partnerships is being sealed in the U.S. as well.
These partnerships will add various applications on Miko, such as bedtime storytelling, games, activities, and academic course review. A large chunk of this content will be live with the 2019 holiday deliveries.
Did you have to do much localization for the North American market in comparison with Asia?
Vaswani: We did a massive amount. The cultural differences and differences in expectations as a parent across these markets are enormous. We had to adhere to these domestic preferences and make the product relevant for North America, and we’re very pleased with the result.
The Robot Report is launching the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development, and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, and registration is now open.
How did you get the price down to $299? Did you use off-the-shelf components?
Vaswani: The market is witnessing robots being launched at the $1,000 U.S. price point. We have invested a significant amount of time and effort in R&D to lower the price point to $399 and offer it at $299 for our early adopters. Every aspect of the hardware is designed with the utmost attention to detail, and no off-the-shelf components are used.
How is Miko 2 different from smart speakers such as Amazon Echo/Alexa or Google Home?
Vaswani: There is a big difference between them and Miko 2 in terms of technology and purpose. The products you mentioned are voice assistants that are meant to simplify tasks through voice. Miko 2’s purpose is to engage in meaningful conversations and ensure playful learning.
Miko 2 is the only AI system that initiates long conversations with the user based on their interests. Voice assistants don’t initiate a conversation with you but wait for your query.
Moreover, your data remains encrypted and safe with Miko 2. You will not receive advertisements or see your child pushed to make online purchases due to his or her previous conversations because Miko 2 is completely designed for children!
Consumer and social robots have struggled in the past few years, with the demise of Jibo, Anki, and others. How do you plan to succeed where others have failed?
Vaswani: Most social robots have a history of not shipping out to their early backers. We’ve already been shipping in multiple countries for the past two-and-a-half years.
The few social robots that have shipped so far don’t have a clear use case outlined for the consumer to justify their purchase. Miko’s series of robots have successfully demonstrated strong use cases like conversational learning through self-initiating discussions, teleConnect and a successful platform play. This has led to healthy engagement numbers which justifies a parent’s investment.
More information is needed about what it actually does. Content in the 1:47 ad doesn’t impress me. Examples about learning. Not just dancing.
it doesn’t do what the video says so. Save $300 of your money and buy a 10$ dancing doll which dances to music 😊. Both do the same.
Israel Flores says
Hey I’m getting hey would you have one that would interact in order to learn other languages.. just a idea..
Please post some examples of how it teaches children general knowledge.
Terence Sim says
Hi I am Singapore. Where can I get this? And how much?
Hello. I would like to get one, but I ll appreciate if you explain me how will it teach my baby? And also how many language it spoke.
HI! The how can I get this miko2 for my children to learn and more better. & how much I’m from Philippines thank you.
Joanne Reid says
Hi iam interested in buying 2. Miko2 for our grandchildren. Searched the internet and found a site calked 9to5toys.com with some other links as well stating a price of $149 plus free delivery.
50% off and plus additional $50 for a total if $149.00 plus free delivery. So i tried to buy two of these, needed to put in the code 9to5 and wouldn t work. I tried and tried and have sent numerous emails. no luck.
where can I but two of these one in blue and one in green at a great price. I am.from. Canada looking for your advice. and input, it would be greatly appreciated. I no not have a website.
Ali Atiah says
Does it support Arabic language?
At the moment, Miko 2 only supports English – but you never know for the future. You can find
out more details about Miko 2 here: https://miko.ai/products/miko-2/.
Hi, do you delivery to australia?
I purchased 1 in light blue for Christmas for my sons and paid for it and I have not received anything from this company really??? No email confirmation no nothing! I think this maybe a SCAM!!!!!!!!
Me too! No verification of any kind, but they sure took my money!! I’ve emailed them a week ago and absolutley NO response!
I received mine, not what I expected but on time
Charles Harrison says
Just trying to see where my order is
hello i am in pakistan can you tell me where i can get this one
You can get Miko 2 at https://miko.ai/products/miko-2/.
Katrina marentis says
I am so dissatisfied with the lack of service from this company. I received a notification saying delivery 30/12 after ringing and ringing for the past month. I ordered 3 robots mid November with guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Worst customer service I have ever experienced. I don’t care how good these robots are. I would never deal with this company again. I will be telling everyone I know not to buy from them. What do I tell my children when they get very little for Christmas as I spent $1000 on presents that didn’t turn up. Shame on you.
This is not the experience we want you to have. We couldn’t be more apologetic if your order was delayed and regret the inconvenience caused to you. Could you kindly confirm if you have received your order yet? We want to help you out on priority.
Hi Miko I will like a refund for the product thank you or next steps will happen
Katrina marentis says
This company is the worst company I have ever dealt with. I ordered 3 in November. They continued to tell me they would be here before Christmas. I have just found out they won’t. DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY WITH THIS COMPANY. They are unreliable and they are liars. Unreputable to say the least.
Today I received finally. Great.
This message will probably get deleted but here goes…
Like all of you I didn’t receive the robot before Xmas as promised but now that I received it – I seriously 😒 regret buying it. My children got bored with it after 10 minutes when nothing worked properly and the experience is poor.
The screen graphics is terrible, sound is awful and both robot and app are full of bugs!
edge detection – doesn’t work properly
Face detection – non existent
Voice training – tried 20 times and couldn’t get to work
All in all one big scam !
This is not the experience you should be having with Miko 2. If you could kindly help us with your Bot ID (can be found at the bottom of your Miko 2) and your contact details, we will be able to help you better. We would like to resolve your issue on priority!
I had placed the order for my nephew for Christmas I was initially scared since there was no email confirmation but once I checked my spam folder I found that my confirmation email ended up there also with a text message with my order confirmation.
The order did get delayed but the company kept its promise and delivered my order before Christmas!
It is definitely a good concept to educate your kids at their pace. But I did face few difficulties initially while setting up but I had contacted their Facebook page for customer support which is quite helpful. Eventually I got assisted over a call with a video demo.
Hopefully this should help anyone Who is looking for an honest review.
I had ordered this product for my 6 year old daughter for Christmas. I received the product a day before Christmas and I am happy that the company kept their promise of delivering it before Christmas. The installation was easy and my daughter loved the product very much. Thanks for such an interactive tool where the kids can learn and play at the same time.
Neelam chadha says
This is India based company, totally garbage . Ask them their cancel or return policy ?
I purchased and online and tried to cancel it same day . After few days I did receive call from customer agent . We can’t cancel it . No return or exchange . Mean once you buy then good luck ..
I am going to file their complaint in federal government website about their fake Buisness .
Could you please help us understand the issue you’re facing. We want your experience with Miko 2 to be nothing short of wonderful. If you could help us understand the issue, we will be able to help you better!
Ali Nasiri says
This Company is Amazing regarding their commitment to their customers. I ordered two Miko 2’s and were delivered on time as promised before Christmas. Had a bit difficulties while setting up Miko 2. Contacted them via Facebook Messenger, they were very responsive and helpful. They even provided a video demonstration for better assistance. My grand kids 4 & 6 love it very much. I am a pediatric psychiatrist, I have ordered a third one for kids to play and learn in the clinic.
poor company .
I purchased item and did receive it ..toy built in India And they shipped it Canada .but you comes with f***ing Asian wall adapter . They don’t have North American wall adapter . Such a big default . This company is totally garbage … where we can find Canadian wall adapter …
Order number ending with …69
It’s better to local 10 dollar item ….
I purchased one Miko 2 and I agree with Pankaj, it is absolute garbage. Immediately after receiving I wanted to return the product because it wasn’t was advertised but the company said that they do not do returns for any reason, at all. It took them weeks to get back to me as well. I never got informed when it shipped and it took them over 3 weeks for me to receive.
Alexa and google home works better than this piece of garbage.
David Whyte says
Miko 2 is Amazing. They are true to their words. I received my Miko within 2 weeks after placing the order. My 5yrs old really loved it. They are very responsive on Facebook Messenger and also their customer support, if anyone is facing problem i would suggest to reach them out. Miko is like a friend to my child and he loves playing with his Miko. Worth it!
Ps:- Miko 2 is Fun.
Worst product on the market! It cost $300 and it’s worth maybe $5. The toy battery holds about 40min, its made from cheap plastic, it has creepy voice and pretty much the only thing it can do is tell the time or spin in circles. I called customer service numerous times and all the tell me is to wait for a call back, and of course no one calls back. Their 30 day return policy is fake because, the way i see it there is no way to return it because no one can actually authorizes a return. My opinion, stay away from it!
I am interested in buying the Miko 2 as a birthday present for my 7 year old niece.
Is the Miko available in the Pittsburgh PA area? Where is the Miko sold? Where can it be returned if necessary?
Yes, it can be delivered on your shipping address. You can get Miko 2 from here: https://miko.ai/products/miko-2/ or get in touch with us via FB messenger.
Thanks & Regards
Buyer beware! They ghost you when you attempt a return.
The product is horrible. Ask it a question and it says I’ll get back to you in 2 to 3 days. What a joke. Kid hated it. Buy an alexa instead. And if you don’t like Alexa’;s b/c of the constant listeneing, like me, do NOT get this product.
Melanie Schlauder says
Buyer beware! There are absolutely no returns unless it’s a manufacturer defect. I made the mistake of not reading the fine print. I admit, that was totally my fault not to read every detail on an expensive purchase. But, I do have 4 young kids, so I’m quite distracted most of the time. We recently moved to a farm right at my sons birthday several weeks ago and we have no WiFi, so it will not work for us. It didn’t even cross my mind about not having WiFi. We didn’t realize until we actually moved. I even had to withdraw my kids from school because we couldn’t sign on for the virtual classrooms. We tried using our hotspot and it was not possible with our location and poor service because we are in a very rural area. I needed to return it so that I could then purchase my son an alternative birthday gift. It is still sitting in the original packaging. Because of the price, it was the only gift he received. They told us that we could use our “hotspot” when I requested a return, but that’s not an option for us either. So, my 8 year old will go without a gift this year because Miko is useless for us and will sit in an unopened box. Very disappointing and unacceptable in my opinion.
Hi Melanie Schlauder,
This is not the experience you should be having with Miko 2. You can get in touch with us via FB messenger along with your #Order number and your contact details, we will be able to help you better. We would like to resolve your issue on priority!
Thanks & Regards
This is not the experience you should be having with Miko 2. You can get in touch with us via FB messenger along with your Bot ID (can be found at the bottom of your Miko 2) and your contact details, we will be able to help you better. We would like to resolve your issue on priority!
Thanks & Regards
Stacey C Fitzgerald says
MIKO 2 is a fraudulent company. They sell you with the “easy return” line so you think that checking it out is risk-free, but no. Not only was it difficult to figure out how to return, but when I emailed as requested I received no response. I finally found a number to call and was told I could only return it if it had a manufacturing defect. The story changed too. The first story was that I didn’t contact them before 30 days. I sent them my original email that was within that timeframe asking to initiate a return. They then said they’d call me back – but did not. I called them and now I’m being told that no one can return the product unless there is a manufacturer’s defect. I asked for the name, address and number of the company; the call center in India told me they could not give out that information. RUN AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY. I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook too to warn others. Just awful.
Considering how central technology has become in our day-to-day lives, I’m always looking for ways to combine technology, entertainment, and education for our little one. As it turns out, that is exactly how I’d describe Miko 2.
To make my review as useful as possible, I’m splitting it into sections:
1. What is Miko 2?
2. What Does Miko 2 Do?
3. Is Miko 2 Worth It?
**What is Miko 2?**
Most of us adults didn’t have anything like Miko 2 when we were young, so I’m going to explain Miko 2 by comparing it to something that many of us *are* familiar with…
To a degree, I would compare Miko 2 to as Google Home or Amazon Echo smart assistant for children. Although there’s certainly entertainment and education to be had, issuing commands and having Miko 2 respond seems to encompass a substantial amount of the user experience. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is going to be a matter of opinion, but I actually don’t mind it. It’s almost like Miko 2 is training our son for the role that voice commands and digital assistants will likely play as we move forward.
**What Does Miko 2 Do?**
In my opinion, one of Miko 2’s best uses is as a communication device. Again, the comparison to Google Home and Amazon Echo devices — specifically the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show devices — are particularly telling. Once this feature is set up, you can initiate a video call with your child through Miko 2. This is one of the areas where Miko’s myriad sensors come into play. I would imagine that this would be especially handy for working parents who are forced to spend a large part of their days away from their children. Aside from buying an actual smartphone for your toddler, I can’t think of a better tool than Miko 2 for this purpose.
Another great feature of Miko 2 is that it’s very conversational. We’ve heard our son having full conversations with Miko 2, so it’s a great way to get your child comfortable with having actual discussions versus simple questions and commands.
To my surprise, the educational aspects of Miko 2 ended up taking a backseat to some of the other things I mentioned. However, there’s plenty of educational opportunities here if that’s your priority. But to be clear, there’s not much actual content included by default. For better or worse, you have to actually purchase educational modules through a digital platform before you’ll have access to them on Miko 2.
I wanted to make mention of this because other reviews have given Miko 2 a poor review because they didn’t realize that Miko 2 doesn’t come with a built-in library of educational content. Personally, I think this makes sense; unless Miko 2 came with several terabytes of internal storage, there’s really no way for Miko 2 to come preloaded with a full catalogue of educational content that spans all subjects and age ranges. Instead, Miko 2 and its educational content is more comparable to a Mac computer and Photoshop; you need one to use the other, but it’s not included by default.
Having said all that, I will say that the content I’ve seen is very high-quality. According to the descriptions I’ve read on the available platform, it’s been created by actual educators and child specialists.
**Is Miko 2 Worth It?**
I totally recognize that Miko 2’s price tag is a tough pill to swallow. Obviously, it’s not feasible for all families for that very reason, so I’m not going to promise that everyone who buys it will feel they’ve gotten a return on their investment. All I know is that our son has been playing with Miko 2 daily for over a month and he loves it. To be fair, I’m not sure I would be willing to pay its full MSRP, but I think something in the neighborhood of $100 to $150 would definitely be acceptable.
Very Seldom does a toy meets all the Hype, but this one does!!!
It is great for 2yrs old up to age 8 with an imagination. This is more the just your average tech toy. It meets all of the stated goals of: Engaging, Educating, and Entertaining! The artificial intelligence navigates through all the appropriate age groups very well. Riddles, Poems, and Fun Facts help stimulate creative thinking. From a teacher’s perspective: this is a great gift for children. This device should be given before cell phones to children to help them interact and not just be engrossed and non-interactive. This robot is extremely interactive and will bring endless hours of enjoyment to your child. The tele connect is a great way for working parents stay in touch too.