Elephant Robotics Offers MarsCat at Bargain $649 to First 100 Backers
A China-based company with partners around the globe plans to be the first manufacturer of a robot cat, following in the footsteps of Sony with its robot dog. The cat, however, will make more realistic catlike actions, like batting at toys, stretching its front two feet out and allowing owners to rub it under its chin, according to developer Elephant Robotics.
According to a story on theverge.com, the company says interactions with MarsCat help shape its personality.
“For example, if you talk with MarsCat a lot, MarsCat will apparently meow at you more often in response. The company also says MarsCat can recognize 20 keywords, and CEO Joey Song tells The Verge that MarsCat will recognize specific commands different people might use, such as saying ‘come’ instead of ‘come here.’ “
Users will be able to program actions for MarsCat by using an open API and its Raspberry Pi. Eventually Elephant Robotics will have a place on its website where developers can upload and share their programmed actions.
According to therobotreport.com, the MarsCat benefits from collaborative robot arms, or cobots, which are safer and easier to use than robot arms used in manufacturing.
“Elephant Robotics CEO Joey Song studied in Australia,” the Robot Report story says. “Upon returning home, he said, he “wanted to create a smaller in size robot that will be safe to operate and easy to program for any business owner with just a few keystrokes. Song founded Elephant Robotics in 2016 in Shenzhen, China, also known as ‘the Silicon Valley of Asia.’ It joined the HAX incubator and received seed funding from Princeton, N.J.-based venture capital firm SOSV.
Song plans to make human-robot collaboration accessible to small businesses by making them affordable and easy to program.
A forbes.com profile of the co-founders Kirin Wu and Joey Song describes the company’s development of an industrial low-cost, intelligent robotic arm with six degrees of freedom of movement, integrating vision and voice commands as a game changer. The robotic cat is merely an offshoot.
“This industry-grade robot arm automates tedious, repetitive or dangerous tasks at a fraction of the usual cost, and could have a big impact on manufacturing and automation,” Forbes writes.
Those who buy in early will likely receive their MarsCat by March 2020. When MarsCat goes on sale it will cost $1,299. That may sound costly, but it’s still less than Sony’s Aibo robot dog at $2,899.99.