Aspiring roboticist, Physics PhD holder and university lecturer Rongzhong Li has designed and built a robotic cat he affectionately called Petoi. This is one man endeavor with no proper workshop or even garage which is why it deserves our admiration. More so when you know how capable this robotic feline friend is. The goal is to develop programmable, highly maneuverable and affordable quadruped robots suitable for STEM education. Petoi not mimics a feline traits, such as purring when pet and meows, it is totally capable of reacting to its environment.
To ensure its longevity in respect of hardware, innovative soft joints are employed to minimize wear as repeatedly moves. At the heart of Petoi are Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards which, together with C and Python, oversees the robotic cat’s adaptive motion and intelligence, while a variety of sensors and connectivity, including touch sensor, infrared, Bluetooth LE, WiFi, microphone and camera, afford a variety of interactions. Rongzhong Li has made no less than 7 iterations over the last one and half year and as of now, he has two working prototypes: Model Mini and Model B.
Model Mini is a light and quick “standalone motion kit” powered by Arduino, while Model B is blessed with more sensors and an upgraded motion module. Only the Model B gets the benefit of Raspberry Pi board that serves as Petoi’s ‘brain’ that allows it to make decisions and communicate via Arduino. With more sensors and an additional ‘brain’, the larger Petoi is no doubt one that has a lot more potential. Petoi maybe an open source robot, but this is no amateur stuff. In a community post published on Hackster.io, the OpenCat is listed as “Super hard” under the difficulty.
But seriously, you don’t need Li to highlight that. With a robot this sophisticated, it goes without saying that building it is never going to be a walk in the park. Also, Li listed it as “work in progress” and as described in his YouTube post, Petoi will be able to generate more behavior, personality and emotion with future upgrades. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the future upgrades will bestow the robotic furry friend with. Who knows, you may never need a headless robotic cat ever again. And oh, Petoi, though open source, is patent-pending. I guess Li knows how some unscrupulous some businesses are and therefore has taken steps to protect his creation.
Images: Rongzhong Li.