Pumpkii robot uses swappable modules to entertain pets
Most futurists probably never saw it coming, but there are now several commercially available robots designed to entertain pets while their owners are at work. One of the latest, known as Pumpkii, features a unique modular design.
The idea is that Pumpkii will stay in the house with the user's dog or cat, linked to the home's Wi-Fi network. Utilizing an iOS/Android app, the user can control the camera-equipped robot at any time, from their workplace or anywhere else that has internet access.
They can start by steering the device over to their pet, travelling across both carpets and flooring – or moving completely sideways – utilizing its omnidirectional wheels. Once they track Fido or Ginger down, the person can then have a conversation of sorts with them, thanks to the robot's 720p HD camera, speaker and microphone. There's also an infrared LED and camera, for night vision.
It's additionally possible to give the animal treats by remotely opening Pumpkii's treat dispenser, or to play with them utilizing a detachable laser pointer and feather-equipped "Teaser Tool."
The back of the ABS-bodied robot is open, allowing different functional modules to be swapped in and out. One of these, called the Treat Pod, lets users shoot treats out for their pet to chase after. There's even a folding Robotic Arm, that can be used to remove waste from a system-specific kitty litter tray (and dispose of it). And because Pumpkii is open-source, there's the potential for third-party groups to create other modules.
One charge of the robot's 2,600-mAh lithium-ion battery should reportedly be good for about eight hours of use. And once the charge level gets down to 20 percent, Pumpkii will automatically travel back to its battery-charging dock.
Should you be interested, Pumpkii is presently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$149 will get you one. The planned retail price is $229.
You can see the robot in action, in the following video.
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