Today, with the need to keep some distance from one another, you could try to find companionship in the form of a pet, but what about a robot as a fun, “socially distant” companion? The mOLOID is one idea for such a device, developed by Jan Ingo Haller and Lorin Samija as a part of a masters program at the University of Stuttgart.
The robot comes in the shape of an oloid, which is an arrangement of two circles attached at 90° to each other. This moving oloid, or “mOLOID," is driven by two servos that vary the position of weights along the circumference of each circle, causing it to flip back and forth from lobe to lobe. When covered in stretchy fabric, it looks like some sort of strange creature flopping around in its own very unique manner of locomotion.
The mOLOID is powered by an Arduino Uno, with an infrared sensor used to react to its environment, and an HC-05 Bluetooth module onboard for smartphone control. There is also a small speaker that allows it to create its own sound effects as needed.
Be sure to check it out in the video below! Code/print files are available via Haller and Samija's project write-up if you want to make one for yourself.