Robotics

Interactive robotic cat hits Kickstarter

Interactive robotic cat hits K...
Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
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The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors
1/5
The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors
Each MarsCat's personality is determined by its interactions with its owner
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Each MarsCat's personality is determined by its interactions with its owner
The MarsCat is capable of recognizing three included toys
3/5
The MarsCat is capable of recognizing three included toys
The MarsCat detects when it's being touched
4/5
The MarsCat detects when it's being touched
Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
5/5
Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
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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.

The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors
The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors

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.

Source: Kickstarter

View gallery - 5 images
3 comments
FB36
We all need to realize, there are always countless pet animals keep suffering, in many different ways, everywhere in the world! Is it really realistic to think, we can end their suffering w/ more education or higher fines etc? IMHO, the answer is absolutely no!!! Also think all their cost (money & labor) to their owners! Also consider diseases and parasites jumping between pets and their owners! & all for really more than entertainment? IMHO, humanity really/absolutely needs to stop using any/all animals as pets! (IMHO, robotic pets can be very good replacements, for all people (unfortunately) addicted to living w/ pets since childhood!)
f8lee
Great! So spend $1200 and have a device that hides and ignores you!

And, naturally, the warm and fuzzy living animals' ability to soothe the human animals that own them will be easily replicated by plastic and electronics -

One can only wonder if the reason this is being offered in China is to allow people to won "pets" without fear of having them kidnapped and eaten...
buzzclick
There are cultures that are more amenable to keeping pets: dogs, cats, birds, snakes, ferrets, you name it. For many there's a bond developed. Their pets are like their children. I have doubts if this Marscat will endure as a pet in the long term. Then again, with robotics getting increasingly implicated in modern life, from sexbots to robovacs, this will appeal to some people who really don't want to bother with the feeding and feces of pet ownership. It should be capable of going to a "home port" to recharge itself. I find its movements a little crude, but it's a start.