Kansas City-based artificial intelligence startup Mycroft AI revealed Wednesday its newest product during Techcrunch Disrupt’s Product Showcase in San Francisco.
The firm opened a Silicon Valley office in 2016, yet its headquarters remains in Kansas City.
Mycroft is an open-source device, similar to Amazon Echo, using natural language processing technology to enable its everyday use in a consumer’s home. With an open-source, open-hardware approach, Mycroft allows users across the globe to develop software and hardware add-ons.
“The Mark 2 is being designed for consumers to put on a desk or in your kitchen,” Montgomery told Techcrunch. “It provides a very similar experience to what you’ve come to expect from Google Home. but, it does it in an open way so you can build your own skills.”
The Mark 2 device is expected to cost $99, Montgomery said. In addition to the new device being smaller than the Mark 1, it also features a screen.
A screen with a face.
“One of the unique things about the technology is that it’s anthropomorphic,” Montgomery said. “We’re doing animations on the screen that show the voice assistant responding to the user.
It’s personal and has a personality. It’s something that, ideally, you could build almost a friendship with.”
The Mark 2 screen also shows visual displays of the weather, calendar, and shopping lists, as well as video and music, Montgomery added.
Since its launch in 2015, developers have attached Mycroft technology to robots, refrigerators and cars. In February, Mycroft established a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, providing the firm with a $110,000 investment and full-time engineering support.
Montgomery is a graduate of the Kansas City-based Sprint Accelerator and is a LaunchKC grant recipient. The firm is also participating in the Silicon Valley-based incubator 500 Startups’ 2017 cohort.
Mycroft was also named a Startland Top Startup to Watch in 2017. To watch the full video interview with Techcrunch, see below.