Interactive robotic cat hits Kickstarter
There's a good chance that you're already familiar with Sony's aibo robotic dog, which was recently reissued. However, what if you're more of a cat person? Well, that's where the new MarsCat is designed to come in.
Developed by China's Elephant Robotics, the MarsCat autonomously moves about its owner's home utilizing 16 motorized joints. Along with simply walking around, it will also randomly perform activities such as playing, sleeping, and even burying imaginary waste in a litter box.
Besides its servos and battery pack, some of the robot's other onboard electronics include a nose-mounted camera, a depth-sensing laser, a microphone, a speaker, six capacitive touch sensors, and a Raspberry Pi microprocessor. Utilizing these, it can reportedly recognize objects such as three included toys, plus it's able to avoid obstacles and respond to several voice commands.
In fact, each MarsCat develops a distinct personality based on the manner in which its owner interacts with it over time.
For example, the more often that the user talks to the robot, the more frequently it will meow at them. Other determining factors include the user's tone of voice, and the number of times that they handle the MarsCat. All told, the bot's personality will end up varying between six character traits: enthusiastic vs aloof, energetic vs lazy, and social vs shy.
Electronically-inclined users will be glad to know that the device is open-source, meaning that they can create and share new software and hardware hacks. One three-hour USB charge of the robot's battery should reportedly be good for two to five hours of runtime, depending on the activity level.
As previously mentioned, the MarsCat is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$649 will get you one, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $1,299.
You can see the robot in action, in the video below.