Justified or not, cats have a reputation for being independent and anti-social pets. But what if a cat could be commanded to like its owner, didn't cause allergic reactions and left no litter box mess to clean up? Those are the selling points that Petoi boasts with its current Indiegogo campaign for Nybble, a DIY robotics kit that lets users create their very own robot cat.
Nybble walks like a cat, jumps, lays down and is able to learn tricks. The DIY kit includes an Arduino-compatible microcontroller and can be used with an optional artificial intelligence chip, such as a Raspberry Pi, which can be mounted on top of the back of the robot cat to help with perception and decision-making skills.
The kit includes 2K static random-access memory (SRAM), 32K flash, 20 Mhz clock, 2K lines of Arduino sketch and can operate for 30 minutes. Users can follow the included software and hardware to create Nybble as the developer intended or it can be customized or hacked with community- or user-driven modifications. The robot can be painted or added to, and 3D printing can be used to create new parts, according to the Indiegogo page.
After assembly, Nybble requires some entry-level computer skills to upload the code and tune the robotic cat to do its owner's bidding.
For those who still prefer a different kind of pet, the makers of Nybble insist that this is just the beginning. Users, along with a precise and powerful actuator, could scale Nybble up to a dog, a horse or even an elephant.