Twenty years ago, Sony introduced the robot dog Aibo. An expensive pet with the habits of a living prototype later received a second revision and is sold for about $3000. Chinese startup Elephant Robotics has introduced an alternative to the popular model - the MarsCat robot. In addition to the wide possibilities for programming a mechanical pet, its feature has become much more affordable than the Japanese competitor's price.
MarsCat is only vaguely similar to a furry cat. Nevertheless, the developers have programmed its behavior in such a way that it is as much as possible to repeat the cat's manners and habits. The robot is able to stretch, give a paw, play with a ball and other objects.
On the "body" of the robot, there are six sensors that respond to touch. The "vision" of the gadget is provided by a camera with a resolution of 5 megapixels, and a single-board computer Raspberry Pi 3 is used as a computing center, due to which the developers plan to give the mechanical cat maximum personality.
The autonomy of MarsCat is about three hours in continuous interaction mode and up to five hours at a low load. The robot recognizes 20 key phrases, including "come here," "go to bed," and "let's play." In the future, the company plans to launch a special online platform where users can share custom firmware with new features for the gadget.
Now the MarsCat project is going through the stage of collecting investments on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. The cost of new items under the terms of pre-order is $649. At the same time, the head of the company Elephant Robotics notes that after the release of the robot in a wide sale, its price may rise to $1299. The first robot deliveries are scheduled for March 2020.