Walking programmable sub-$200 robot dog hits Kickstarter
Upon first seeing a dog-like quadruped robot for the first time, many people jokingly ask where they could buy one. Well, they can now get a fully functional miniature dog-bot of their very own via a Kickstarter campaign, for just US$195.
Known as Bittle, the device is made by Pittsburgh-based company Petoi. It's definitely not a ready-to-go toy for kids, though.
Buyers receive a kit consisting of an injection-molded plastic frame which they assemble like a 3D jigsaw puzzle; multiple servos for moving the leg joints and the head; a lithium-ion battery that should reportedly be good for about one hour of walking per charge; and an electronics package – the latter includes an Arduino NyBoard V1 processing board, an inertial measurement unit which is used for balancing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi dongles, plus an infrared remote for triggering basic movements.
The user is responsible for putting all those bits together, then writing coded commands for Bittle utilizing Petoi's OpenCat software. They can also purchase additional hardware modules – such as a camera or a gesture sensor – which are installed simply by clamping them in the robot's jaws.
Basic specs-wise, Bittle measures 20 by 11 by 11 cm (7.9 by 4.3 by 4.3 in), weighs less than 280 g (9.9 oz), and can carry up to 450 g (15.9 oz) slung beneath its belly. It has a maximum walking speed of over two body lengths per second. Additionally, it can remember tens of instinctive motion patterns, plus it can perform other actions via real-time remote control.
As mentioned earlier, a pledge of $195 will get you a complete Bittle kit – assuming it reaches production, that is. You can see the little robot in action, in the following video.