Cozmo the robot
Say hello to Cozmo Anki

This little guy just made it into our list of top 10 favourite robots, alongside Wall-E and R2-D2. Cozmo is a pocket-sized robot toy from US robotics firm Anki and could be the closest thing to a real-life movie robot we've ever seen.

Cozmo is a tiny smartphone-powered toy with a big personality. Pitched by his creators as the first truly consumer-grade robot, Cozmo can recognise you by face, play games with you and even acts like a brat when he doesn't get his own way.

Cozmo's personality comes from his so-called emotion engine, which develops and evolves with his owner over time. He's able to convey a range of facial expressions and emotions, such as lighting up with joy when he sees you or sulking when you beat him at a game.

The bite-sized bot is the brainchild of not just AI and robotics experts, but also teams of game developers and animators, brought on board to create the type of lovable machine that wouldn't be amiss in a Pixar flick. You may be familiar with Anki's popular consumer product Anki Overdrive, a toy racing game akin to Scalextric but controlled by your smartphone. The game became one of the best-selling toys of last year and uses AI for robotic racing opposition.

Hanns Tappeiner, president and co-founder of Anki, said: "All robots in movies I can think of have a very interesting, well-defined personality. That's why we connect with them and that's why we love them... All of the technology inside of Cozmo is really there for one reason: to bring the magic of robotic character to life."

Despite being small enough to fit in a child's hand, Cozmo packs an impressive amount of tech. Powering the robot is an "extremely complicated" artificial intelligence making "thousands of decisions every second": more, in fact, than all the Mars Rovers combined. Bundled with an array of accelerometers, computer vision and animation tech, Anki reckons Cozmo is one of the most sophisticated consumer robots available today.

Boris Sofman, the company's CEO and co-founder, said: "Cozmo is a pioneer for the ability to create characters and tell stories in the real world. With this technology, we can make additional characters with new capabilities, new personalities at level that we've never seen before."

Cozmo will ship in October in the US and can be pre-ordered today for $179.99 (£136) – much cheaper than Asus' recently-announced Zenbo. Anki said it would consider launching Cozmo outside of the US market in 2017, presumably based on how much of a hit he is in the States.