Mini Pupper 2 makes a bid to be your new hackable robo-dog pal
Last year, Hong Kong's MangDang gave programmers the chance to own a small hackable four-legged robot named the Mini Pupper, a kind of baby Spot. Now the team has returned to Kickstarter with a much-improved second generation robo-dog.
As before, the tinkerer-friendly robot pooch features a flat upper surface for mounting such optional add-ons such as LiDAR and 3D camera modules, but benefits from an increased the payload capacity from 150 g (5 oz) to 200 g (7 oz).
Where the first generation was powered by Raspberry Pi 4B processing brains, the Mini Pupper 2 gains compatibility with the Pi Compute Module 4 along with Arduino microcontrollers. By shipping time, the developers plan to extend operating system support to the new ROS2, in addition to Ubuntu and ROS1.
The new robo-dog also benefits from closed-loop control for smarter operation, and now works with a mobile app. The LCD display in front remains, for animated expressions, but a touch sensor, a microphone and a speaker are new to this build.
It retains 12-degrees-of-freedom agility, but each leg now features its own microcontroller overseeing three upgraded servos, with the Pro version boasting position, velocity and torque feedback from each servo, while the regular robo-dog flavor gets position feedback only.
The hackable bot is powered by a 1,000-mAh battery but can now be used with an adapter for external power as well, useful for development and debugging operations.
The Mini Pupper 2 is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where backers can opt for a fully assembled standard version for US$549, assemble-it-yourself kits for either $429 or $499, or a $299 basic upgrade kit for those who already have a first-gen robo-dog. A fully assembled Pro model comes in at $649, with kits also available at $529 and $599. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in February 2023.
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