Limitbit Tech's Doly Launches with the Promise of an Edge AI-Powered "Unique Personality"

Featuring natural language speech recognition, object recognition, and a learning personality, Doly aims to be a compact companion.

Limitbit Tech's Doly, a Raspberry Pi-powered companion bot for education and more, has opened its crowdfunding campaign — and hit its funding goal in the first three minutes of going live.

"Doly is uniquely designed to grow and adapt, providing an engaging and educational experience for users of all ages and abilities. Our commitment to an open source approach places Doly at the cutting edge of personal robotic technology," says Levent Erenler, Limitbit's founder, of the expressive tracked robot, describing Doly as a "fusion of companionship, education, and technological innovation."

Doly, the interactive edge AI companion bot, is now funding on Kickstarter — with considerable success. (📹: Limitbit Tech)

Originally, Doly was planned as a 3D-printable companion robot built around a custom Linux-based computing platform. A desire to offer more functionality, though, led Limitbit to switch to using the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 — and interest from the maker community saw the company release the machine's design under an open source license.

The current Doly design is based around the Raspberry Pi CM4 with an eight-megapixel Sony IMX219-based camera module, two touch sensors located over a pair of circular displays acting as the robot's expressive "eyes," a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), two time-of-flight (ToF) distance sensors, four infrared edge sensors, and two microphones, as well as six general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, two spare servo ports, and a single Qwiic port for connectivity to external add-ons.

Limitbit is making much of the robot's artificial intelligence capabilities, delivering it with software offering a range of on-device machine learning capabilities including face, speech, and object detection, natural language understanding (NLU) responses to commands, and autonomous pathfinding. For those who want to expand its capabilities, there's a low-code visual programming environment based on Google's Blockly.

The robot will also, in its default firmware configuration, exhibit a changing personality, the company claims. "Doly feels, responds and develops a unique character thanks to his advanced technology. Beginning from day one, you will be molding his individual personality and mood," Erenler says.

"This feature is shaped based on the way you treat and interact with your Doly. As a result, his responses, expressions, movements and eye animations will be altered with different emotions. Doly is an independent spirit without an app or device."

Doly is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, priced at CA$362 (around $270) for a kit which requires 3D-printed body parts and a Raspberry Pi CM4 or CA$399 (around $296), for early-bird backers, for a fully-assembled unit. All hardware is expected to ship in August this year, the company has said.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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