Robotics

Microsoft robotics developer builds remote dog-sitting bot

Jordan Correa, a robotics developer with Microsoft, built a dog-sitting robot that lets the owner interact with his dog over the internet
Jordan Correa, a robotics developer with Microsoft, built a dog-sitting robot that lets the owner interact with his dog over the internet
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Jordan Correa, a robotics developer with Microsoft, built a dog-sitting robot that lets the owner interact with his dog over the internet
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Jordan Correa, a robotics developer with Microsoft, built a dog-sitting robot that lets the owner interact with his dog over the internet
Using the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, Correa constructed a robot that can interact with his dog much like he would himself
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Using the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, Correa constructed a robot that can interact with his dog much like he would himself
Everything is controlled with an Xbox 360 controller, which the owner uses remotely to drive the DarwinBot around and activate its various features
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Everything is controlled with an Xbox 360 controller, which the owner uses remotely to drive the DarwinBot around and activate its various features

When Jordan Correa and his wife both started working full time, they found themselves away from their home much more often, leaving their dog, Darwin, alone all day. Most people would have just had to leave the problem as is, or maybe get a part time pet sitter. But Correa, being a test developer for the Microsoft Robotics Team, came up with a solution right in line with his talents and built a dog-sitting robot, so he could play and speak with his pet over the internet while he's at work.

Using the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, Correa constructed a robot that can interact with his dog much like he would himself
Using the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, Correa constructed a robot that can interact with his dog much like he would himself

Using the Parallax EDDIE hardware platform and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, Correa constructed a robot that can interact with his dog much like he would himself, which he named the "DarwinBot." A Slate PC on the front lets the owner speak to his dog over Skype, while a dispenser on the side can distribute treats on his command. The DarwinBot can also play fetch, thanks to a ball launcher on top and a robotic arm that can retrieve the ball after the dog drops it in front of it.

Aside from attachments and the main components that provide motion, the bot uses a pan-and-tilt camera to look around with, a webcam connected to LEDs to locate and pick up a ball, and an Xbox Kinect sensor to avoid obstacles while moving around. Everything is controlled with an Xbox 360 controller, which the owner uses remotely to drive the robot around and activate its various features.

Although DarwinBot might not be available in a store near you anytime soon, dog and cat owners who wish to play with their pet via the internet might be interested in the iPet Companion system. It allows users to remotely control two pet toys, while watching their animal's reactions in real time using a webcam.

Check out the video below to watch Correa demonstrate the DarwinBot in action with his own dog, Darwin.

DarwinBot - The Pet Companion Robot

7 comments
philly
I would think that a dog would like that thing about as much as it likes a vacuum cleaner. And by the first photo, it doesn\'t look to thrilled:)
Ozuzi
Pretty expensive chew-toy for most dogs
David Whyte
This thing was made on a TV show a year or two ago,one that creates technological,and so called innovative answers to the \"problems of today\":)I think he might be riding somebody else\'s gravy train.
Madz
Um great achievement but does anyone else see a problem with the basic premise: ...so he could play and speak with his pet over the internet while he\'s at *work*
alaskaken
He must work for the Government.
Mark Keller
I wonder if the dog would play with it on it\'s own if the device was made to activate when the dog placed a ball in the device\'s receptacle.
Light_Lab
A truckie friend of mine once said any dog that can fit in a microwave is just a meal. My dog is not allowed inside the house; she once chewed an entire vacuum cleaner to small pieces. That robot would amuse my dog but it would last about 30 minutes as a chew toy. In fact with treats inside it is just a doggie pinata.