Pet-entertaining robot isn't stingy with the treats
It was just last year that we heard about Anthouse, an interactive robot designed to entertain your home-alone dog. Unfortunately that project got cancelled, but guilty pet-owners can take heart – Mia has hit Kickstarter.
Created by Canada's Kolony Robotic, Mia is designed to autonomously trundle around the user's carpeted or hard-floored house while they're not home, automatically avoiding obstacles and stairs. The number of times it sets out, along with the times of day at which it does so, are programmed in by the user via an iOS/Android app.
The idea is that the curious dog or cat will follow it around on its excursions, giving them some exercise and mental stimulation. Once the novelty factor wears off, the animal may still likely be interested in Mia for one simple reason – it can be programmed to give out user-supplied treats from an onboard compartment as it moves along.
The robot's body is made of a reportedly "bite-proof" strong polymer, in case the pet decides to get rough with it, plus it automatically shuts off if tipped over. Its battery should last for about one week per charge, based on three 15-minute play sessions every day.
Optional extras include the Wi-Fi-equipped WoofBox and MiaCam. The WoofBox is a sound-sensitive device that detects when the user's dog is barking, and notifies the person via the app. They can then remotely set Mia going in order to distract the pooch, although it's also possible to have the WoofBox automatically activate the robot whenever barking occurs.
The MiaCam is, not surprisingly, a stationary webcam. It automatically turns on when Mia is in action, allowing the user to remotely watch their pet via the app.
Should you be interested in getting yourself a Mia, a pledge of CAD$169 (about US$130) will get you the robot on its own – assuming it reaches production – with CAD$379 (US$294) required for the full three-part package.
Mia can be seen in action, in the video below.