We have built the friendliest robot in the world, and we need your support to make more of them.
In all the craze and frenzy, take a minute just for fun and google “friendliest robot in the world”. Don’t know what you will be seeing, but for me the results are remarkable, both in gem and dire. Let’s review this. What got me to this, is that I think with flatcat we have created
1/ the friendliest robot on the planet (frop)
It might be creepy to some but it is just friendly nonetheless, no matter. To celebrate, let’s come up with an appropriate retronym for flatcat, for example
2/ flatcat, friendliest live adaptive technology cuddly auto telic
Either way I needed to research existing claims in direction of “friendliest robot”. And what I get is essentially this: various lists of “top 12” and “most advanced” hard-shell social or humanoid robots exempt the revered Paro; direct references to Blue, Pepper, and Kuri; and one IEEEspectrum article.
What is friendliness and affection without touch as a mode of communication? From all I can see, none of these robots is able to actually touch a human person. If they are, no one wants to be touched by them. So they might be “able” to touch a human but that might not feel so good for the human. flatcat communicates with people only by touch, nothing else.
What caught my eye on the other hand immediately is Gakutensoku, 學天則, which is Japanese for “learning from the laws of nature” or when taken as Chinese through deepl.com, “Learning the Rules of Heaven”. Aha 🙂
Gakutensoku was a very early robot design that considered friendliness on a fundamental level, done by biologist Makoto Nishimura, who was motivated by his shock from seeing Karel Capek’s theater play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”. Gakutensoku appears to have been Japan’s first functional robot ever, as a side effect.
The robot he wanted to build would celebrate nature and humanity, and rather than a slave, it would be a friend, and even an inspirational model, to people.
To summarize these results, friendly robots are few because somehow no one is incentivized to make them. If they are made, friendly companionship is somewhat misunderstood through the severe disconnection of mainstream engineering from simple facts of human psychology. And, there is a very early precedent, which is coming from a clearly bio-inspired thinking.
For us, friendly robots are just the answer, and we do think that friendly adaptive technology makes a difference for people now, and will do so even more down the road if they are wild and friendly. To continue this mission, we need your support and are looking for team members and funding. Give us a shout, spread the word!
Jetpack Cognition Lab, a Berlin-based AI and robotics startup, today announced flatcat, a new consumer robot, to be launched in March 2021. flatcat is a firm and fluffy AI pet for the living room, that responds to touch and gravity, and has a playful life of its own.
flatcat invites to experience a new dimension of touch and motion. Cuddle with it, have a gentle romp, or just watch it do weird things on its own, to caress your soul. The robot feels everything exactly with cognitive sensorimotor loops based on ten years of developmental robotics research. flatcat has no face, no app, no cloud, full privacy. It is built around a 3D printed skeleton and is powered by Jetpack Cognition Lab‘s own electrical motor design.
The new product will be available on Kickstarter and selected outlets beginning March 3, 2021. Visit https://flatcat.berlin for more information.
About Jetpack Cognition Lab Established in 2019, Jetpack Cognition Lab is a Berlin-based AI and Robotics startup and innovation hub. Founded by Oswald Berthold and Matthias Kubisch, it specializes in science transfer and product research. The company’s bioinspired hardware and software design is built on the neuroscience and psychology of developmental learning.
Our mission is to do everything we can to support current and upcoming generations with reusable tools and modular wisdom to grow and tend their futures at peace and prosperity.
Of course, we are beginning to learn a little in the behavioral sciences regarding how little we know about children and the educational processes. We had assumed the child to be an empty brain receptacle into which we could inject our methodically-gained wisdom until that child, too, became educated. In the light of modern behavioral science experiments that was not a good working assumption.
Operating manual for spaceship earth, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1969