Remember the robot pet toy craze of the '90s? Toys like Tekkno and Poo-chi were some of the most popular of the era. The trend continues today with toys from fisca, Fur-Real Friends, and Tuptoel. Though they’re fun and cute (for about 10 minutes), they don’t look or act like their real-life counterparts. Tinkerer 'moononournation' decided to fix that problem and set about building his own realistic robocat.
With the goal of creating a robotic companion that looks and acts like an actual cat, the maker started by studying the skeleton of a feline to understand how its body works. From there, he 3D-printed parts for the body and set about working on the hardware, which includes an M5Stack Camera Module, a custom power circuit, and a PCA9685 driver board. It’s then programmed with Arduino IDE, FSBrowserPlus, and ESP Async Web Server Library.
After various tweaks and tests to its system, the cyber kitty was ready for its big debut. Still a prototype, it looks no different than current robot pets on the market, but its movements and poses are similar to that of an actual cat. Equipped with several joints, the robot can sit, stand, and turn its head. It even does a little wave with the right prompt.
Future versions of the cat hope to have better weight balance, an added foot touch sensor, a microphone for speech recognition, more motions, and a speaker to let it meow. Its barebones at the moment, but still more impressive than Poo-chi ever was.
If you want to assemble your own robot pet, be sure to also check out the work of Rongzhong Li.