Service robots are not just for helping humans with work that we aren’t cut out for, but they can also help us by being companions or being a source of entertainment.
Robot pets are one part of robots that help us emotionally, and this article will be taking a look at some of the most popular ones.
You’ll also be seeing how they work, and why getting one would be worth it for you in the long run.
There are quite a few really smart robot pets like the Sony Aibo, and the Anki Cozmo.
This article will be looking at most of the robot pets you can get today so you’ll know which is the best.
Why Would You Want a Smart Robot Pet?
A smart robot pet is a great substitute for a real pet especially for people who cannot keep pets.
It doesn’t matter if you have allergies, or if your apartment complex has a no pets policy, a robot pet can be the solution for all of that.
Besides, real pets can be temperamental, and you can be subject to how they’re behaving with you at the moment.
Robot pets won’t have that issue of random behavioral changes because you can control what the robot does.
Grooming real pets also require more effort than taking care of a robot pet, and the associated costs can be avoided if your pet is robotic.
The Technology That Goes into Smart Robot Pets
To make robots act like pets, a lot of technology goes into them, like cameras, sensors, and advanced computing processors.
Cameras are the most often piece of technology seen in robot pets, rightly so, because they need to see the outside world.
Some robot pets have touch sensors so that the robot will know if it being touched, like for example, if your robot dog has a touch sensor on its head, it’ll will know when it is petted and will behave accordingly.
These behaviors also need to be designed and run in real-time, without much delay to make the robot respond quickly to what you’re doing with it.
The compute processors assist in this regard, and they have software that these behaviors run on.
In terms of locomotion, robot pets can have wheels, tracks or legs, and depends on how much you need to pay for it.
Lower priced models have wheels or tracks, and the more expensive or experimental ones have legs.
The Anki Cozmo, or just Cozmo, is a robot designed to be educational as well as entertaining, mainly for children.
Cozmo has his own personality, and is extremely talkative for a robot, and any child would find his child-friendly attempts at teaching them code to be quite fun.
The robot comes with three blocks that he uses in his games, and a charging dock for his rechargeable batteries.
He can be controlled with an app, so its recommended to set it up with the app first before you let your child have fun with it.
After setting the bot up, you can show him the three blocks to let him know where they are.
The app will tell you what Cozmo wants, and so does he, with his emotive eyes on the front display and speakers.
Cozmo can also recognize and remember faces, and can greet them whenever he seems them again.
You can also give each face a name, which Cozmo can refer them by.
He is intelligent enough to begrudgingly right himself if he ever falls over, and get back on his tracks pretty easily.
Cozmo offers a progression system for its users as well, with more points required to unlock the more advanced games and levels.
Overall, Cozmo is a great companion for children whi want something more interactive to play with than a tablet or phone.
Buddy the Robot
Buddy, created by Blue Frog Robotics, is emotional, and intelligent, yet remains affordable for most.
Blue Frog intends Buddy to assist, teach and entertain everyone in your home, so it is kind of a jack of all trades.
Buddy has a large screen for a head which he uses to emote with you and can show a wide range of emotions depending on how people interact with him.
Buddy can even check your calendar and remind you if anything comes up during the day.
He’s not just a toy for kids, he can help out the adults in the home as well.
He can also patrol your home while you’re away and alert you if he sees unusual movements.
The only issue with being able to do a lot of things is that you can’t do any one of those things 100% perfectly, which is true in the case of Buddy.
The calendar reminding system has issues that need fixing, and sometimes the robot will emote something which you didn’t expect in that situation.
But Buddy is still good as something you can have around the home to keep you occupied, and it fits well into that role.
Vector is an evolution of the Anki Cozmo, and looks almost identical, but colored black.
Vector has added features like a full HD IPS display, an enhanced sensor and camera suite and more.
These features allow the Vector to be aware of his surroundings and react accordingly to what people do.
He can intelligently avoid obstacles and find his way around your home without the much effort.
He can check the local weather and alert you of any appointments in your calendar, making the Vector playful as well as helpful.
The camera is at a wider FOV of 120 degrees, and his microphones use beamforming technology to know exactly where you’re calling him from.
Combined with an IR laser scanner and Wi-Fi, Vector is almost the complete package for a consumer robot.
The Sony Aibo blew everyone out of the water when it was first revealed in 1999.
The little robot dog is still being sold today, with additional features and capabilities added as technology progressed.
The Aibo is expensive, though, setting you back by almost $2,500.
The technology it packs justifies the price, with touch and button sensors all around the robot on it’s head, back and chin.
It is designed to respond just like how a dog would, which means it will respond accordingly to pets on the head or scratches on the chin.
The Aibo is a cool learning robot for children that acts as a intro into what robots are capable of.
Although it might be on the more expensive side it is worth it if you can shell out the money.
The Bittle is the first open-source entry into this list and can act as a great study tool for students in school.
Because it’s open-source, acquiring one for yourself is pretty easy and cheaper as well.
The robot dog uses several servo motors to aid in movement and other functions, each of them being programmable separately.
Bittle runs off of an Arduino, but a Raspberry Pi also would work if you have the requisite programs installed.
You can code the systems for Bittle with C++, Scratch or Python, which makes it a great learning tool for programming.
Coding knowledge isn’t a prerequisite, though, with tons of community-made projects with solid support from the user forums.
The Bittle is more of a learning-focused tool than a toy, so keep this in mind if you want to buy this for a toddler.
Gst this robot if your children or yourself are interested in programming but don’t know where to start.
WowWee RS Media
The RS Media is a humanoid robot that’s based on WowWee’s Robosapien V2.
The focus of the RS Media is as the name might suggest, plays media through its speakers.
It can also record audio and video and take pictures that can be stored in its internal memory.
Touch sensors and lower quality VGA cameras make up the sensing suite of the robot.
It also has bundled ssoftware for PC that allow you to edit it’s personality and customize a bunch of moves.
You can also create macros that do multiple actions with a single button press, or access its internal memory to copy over media.
Since the robot runs on Linux, it’s possibility for tinkering is expanded, and people can make their own programs or features for their robot.
The RS Media is a great educational tool, but requires some idea of Linux for it to be used to it’s full potential.
The robot will be pretty good for advanced computer users who know their way around Linux.
i-Cybie Robot Dog
The i-Cybie dog is more of a toy than anything, and is designed to be playful and enthusiastic.
As with most robot dogs, the Cybie will respond to what you say and do with the robot.
It is good for kids as well as adults who are looking for ways to unwind, and a binge-watching session doesn’t just cut it.
Its pretty affordable too, so it’s a great choice for someone trying out robot pets for the first time.
It includes a walk-on charger that it can get to with it’s legs, which is another highlight of Cybie.
It ddoesn’t have wheels or tracks so it’s as close to a real dog as possible.
The Roboraptor has found its way into popular culture and has been featured in media several times.
This is in no part to the looks of the robot, which is, as the name might suggest, resembles a velociraptor.
It’s unique appearance lets it take up a personality different from the cute dog like ones we’ve seen before.
Now it decides to make lunch out of you, or spare you.
It does all this with a suite of sensors and cameras that let it see and walk around it’s environment.
The Roboraptor walks on its hind legs while waving about it’s stubby arms like a T-Rex.
You can control the robot with the included remote or the IR dongle, and if remotes seem old fashioned, you can use the smartphone app.
Because of it’s fun factor, the Roboraptor is more focused on entertainment and would work well as a toy robot.
How Have Smart Robot Pets Changed Over the Years
Smart robot pets over the years have evolved from just obstacle recognition to robots that can read your calendar, tell you the weather and change their behavior on the fly.
These robots also last longer on a single charge thanks to advances in battery technology.
AI and machine learning have begun to make their step into the robot pet space.
Robot pets are something that can stay relevant for years to come because companionship is always needed for humans.
Robot pets perfectly fill that role, but without any of the issues that you would run into with real animals.
Future of Smart Robot Pets
As years go by, people are looking more towards AI companions to fill gaps in their social lives.
Robot pets are great candidates for stepping into that role, and if developed in step with the latest AI and machine learning tech, they have tons of potential.
Robot pets would be able to read human emotions better and respond to them more naturally.
Movement and locomotion can also be controlled by the AI, letting these robots mimic their biological counterparts better.
These are just some of the possibilities AI provides, but we could see a whole lot more in the years to come.
Keeping You Company
All of the robots in the article are good enough in their own right, and it only matters how we’ll using one of these bots go for you.
We could see a lot of people getting a robot pet in the future, which could men a lot for animal welfare as well.
If the demand for custom and exotic pets decline as a result of people turning to robot pets, it could be a huge win for animal welfare.
The robot pet space is a waiting game at the moment, though, and anything could happen to revolutionize it.
You May Also Enjoy Reading:
- Meet Robot Dogs: Companion and Worker
- 10 Most Advanced Robots and Humanoids That Are Eerily Lifelike
- How Are Robots Made? The Answer Is It Depends
Frequently Asked Questions
Are robot pets good?
Robot pets are good for people who can’t keep real animals at home.
They are also a good teaching tool for children getting into robotics.
What was the first robotic pet?
The first robotic pet was Sony’s Aibo which debuted in 1999.
What can Buddy the robot do?
Buddy the robot is not just a toy; its designers have intended it to assist you with daily tasks by reading out your calendar agenda for the day while keeping your children entertained.
Can robots be companions?
Robots can be companions even iwith their limited social skills, especially for children with autism.
When AI grows, robots have the potential to be companions for other humans as well.