flatcat, der gruseligste Roboter aller Zeiten, ist nur noch sieben Tage auf Kickstarter

Presseinformation, Berlin, 14. Mai 2021

Entweder haben Sie schon eins, oder Sie werden bald eins haben. Roboterhaustiere erobern die VerbrauchermĂ€rkte weltweit in Form von Babyrobben, Hundewelpen oder einem schwanzwedelnden Kissen. Jetzt bekommen sie Gesellschaft von einer ĂŒberfahrenen Katze.

flatcat wurde von Gizmodo ((https://gizmodo.com/the-flatcat-cant-even-walk-but-its-instantly-the-creep-1846366550)) als “der gruseligste Roboter, den man je gesehen hat” betitelt, und das mag fĂŒr einige tatsĂ€chlich so sein. FĂŒr viele andere ist es ein zugegebenermaßen seltsames, aber niedliches Roboter-Haustier, das sie umarmen und mit dem sie spielen wollen.

Die ersten paar Flatcats sind ab sofort und nur noch sieben Tage lang auf Kickstarter ((https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bakiwi/flatcat), der beliebtesten Crowdfunding-Website, erhÀltlich. Die Kampagne steht kurz vor der Vollfinanzierung, braucht aber noch ein paar entscheidende Zusagen von Roboter-Enthusiasten aus nah und fern, die etwas bewegen wollen.

Der Roboter, der von Jetpack Cognition Lab , einem in Berlin ansĂ€ssigen Unternehmen mit Grazer Wurzeln entwickelt und hergestellt wird, ist ein Roboter der neuen Art. Er ist völlig anders als alle anderen vergleichbaren Produkte auf dem Markt. Was ihn einzigartig macht, ist seine sensomotorische Kompetenz, die KrĂ€fte seiner eigenen Bewegung und die von außen durch Menschen oder einfach durch die Schwerkraft erzeugten KrĂ€fte zu spĂŒren und darauf zu reagieren.

Die FĂ€higkeit, KrĂ€fte direkt in den Gelenken zu spĂŒren, erlaubt es Flatcat, neugierig zu sein und seinen eigenen Körper und die Welt auf die sicherste Art und Weise zu erkunden. Die Technologie dafĂŒr kommt aus dem Forschungsfeld der Entwicklungsrobotik, bei dem Teile der Entwicklung von Tieren und Menschen in Software und Algorithmen umgesetzt werden.

Mögliche Verwendungszwecke von flatcat sind als Haustier im Wohnzimmer, um einfach zu spielen und gemeinsam die Welt der sensomotorischen Erfahrung und Bewegung zu erkunden; als therapeutischer Roboter, um sanft einfache Bewegungen zu stimulieren, Gesellschaft und Trost zu spenden; oder als Desktop-Forschungs-Roboter fĂŒr Wissenschaftler und Hacker:innen gleichermaßen, da er neben seiner hochmodernen sensomotorischen SensibilitĂ€t auch Open Source, erweiterbar und modifizierbar ist.

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Über Jetpack Cognition Lab

Seit seinen AnfĂ€ngen im Jahr 2019 bringt Jetpack Cognition Lab radikale Innovationen aus der wissenschaftlichen Forschung auf den Konsumentenmarkt. Die GrĂŒnder des Labs sind Dr. Oswald Berthold und Matthias Kubisch. Sie lernten sich wĂ€hrend ihres Studiums an der Humboldt-UniversitĂ€t zu Berlin kennen und taten sich zusammen, um die schrĂ€gsten und lustigsten Roboter der Welt zu entwickeln.

Berthold ist ein in österreichischer KĂŒnstler-Technologe, geboren in Graz, der schon mit dem Kollektiv farmersmanual Musikgeschichte geschrieben hat, indem er neuartige Stile und innovative AnsĂ€tze zur digitalen Musikproduktion und -veröffentlichung im Internetzeitalter einfĂŒhrte. SpĂ€testens seit er 2018 seine Promotion in Robotik innerhalb der Adaptive Systems Group der HU Berlin abgeschlossen hat, ist er damit beschĂ€ftigt, Grundlagenforschung in Kundennutzen zu verwandeln.

Kubisch ist ein deutscher Informatiker, Kreativer und Aktivist. Er hat als wesentliches Mitglied des Teams gearbeitet, das den modularen humanoiden Roboter Myon im ALEAR-Projekt unter der Leitung von Dr. Manfred Hild entwickelt hat. Außerdem hat er die Industrie von innen gesehen und Algorithmen zur Steuerung von elektrischen Kraftwerken entwickelt. Er ist nicht nur ein Experte fĂŒr adaptive Echtzeitalgorithmen und maschinelles Lernen, sondern auch ein genialer Elektronikdesigner und ProduktvisionĂ€r.

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flatcat main pic, flat on sofa
flatcat crowd of three with three different fur colors

flatcat, the creepiest robot ever, is on Kickstarter for only seven more days

Press release, May 14 2021

You either have one already, you are going to have one soon. Robot pets are taking to consumer markets worldwide in the shapes of baby seals, dog puppies, or a tail-wagging cushion. Now they are getting company by an overrun cat.

flatcat has been titled “the creepiest robot ever seen” by Gizmodo and that may indeed be so for some. For many others, it is an admittedly strange yet cute robotic pet, which they want to hug and play with.

The first few flatcats are available right now for the first time, and only for seven more days, on Kickstarter, the most popular crowdfunding website. The campaign is close to being fully funded, but does need a few more and decisive pledges by robot enthusiasts near and far, who like to make a difference.

The robot, designed and manufactured by Berlin based Jetpack Cognition Lab, is one of a new kind. It is entirely different from all other comparable products on the market. What makes it unique is its sensorimotor competence, the ability to feel, and react to the forces of its own motion, and those created on the outside by humans or simply by gravity.

The ability to feel forces directly in its joints allows flatcat to be curious and explore its own body and the world in the safest way possible. The technology for doing that is coming from a research field called developmental robotics, where parts of the development of animals and humans are put into software and algorithms.

Possible uses of flatcat are as a living room pet to simply play with and jointly explore the world of sensorimotor experience and motion; as a therapeutic robot to gently stimulate simple motions, provide company and comfort; or as a desktop research robot for scientists and hackers alike, by being open source, extensible and modifiable in addition to its cutting edge sensorimotor sensitivity.

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About Jetpack Cognition Lab

Since its beginnings in 2019, Jetpack Cognition Lab is pushing radical innovations from scientific research onto the consumer market. The founders of the lab are Dr. Oswald Berthold and Matthias Kubisch. They met during their studies at Humboldt-UniversitĂ€t zu Berlin, and teamed up to create the weirdest and funniest robots alive.

Berthold is an Austrian artist-technologist, born in Graz, and has previously written music history with the farmersmanual collective by introducing novel styles and innovative approaches to digital music production and publishing in the internet age. Since finishing his doctorate in robotics with the Adaptive Systems Group of HU Berlin in 2018, he is busy turning fundamental research into customer value.

Kubisch is a German computer scientist, creative and activist. He has worked as an essential member of the team that created the Myon modular humanoid robot in the ALEAR project led by Dr. Manfred Hild. Also he has seen industry from the inside developing electrical power plant control algorithms. On top of being an expert on realtime adaptive algorithms and machine learning, he is an ingenious electronics designer and product visionary.

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flatcat. development white paper.

your next robot is a desktop research robot

Why flatcat?

We believe that modern robotics/AI needs a boost from the bottom, to take another two to three steps back and take the time to close the sensorimotor gap and look intensively at learning procedures before moving on to higher function such as assistance for humans.

That’s why we developed flatcat as an open, extremely simplified platform from the ground up to enable people from different scientific and research fields, as well as developers and engineers, to develop their own applications or solve research questions with a real robot. flatcat is designed to be inexpensive and highly simplified, making it accessible to many.

How flat?

flatcat is open-source in hardware, firmware and software. The circuits are just as studiable and expandable as the software. The mechanics are made of 3D-printed parts and can therefore be repaired and adapted over and over again. We use readily available off-the-shelf components as much as possible to ensure parts availability. The design is modular and expandable, e. g. more joints, different motors, new controllers, more sensors etc. The mechanics is portable and lightweight, i. e. results can be presented live, mobile use is possible, etc. The motion dimension of flatcat is 2-dimensional and the reduced complexity is initially very convenient for many problems, the robot can be maintained and operated by one person, (desktop research robot).

Spec flat

flatcat provides a Python/C++ interface for the development of applications. The host platform is a Raspberry Pi (Zero/W) with WiFi module which drives the motors via a symmetric, i. e. insensitive data bus (RS-485, 1MBaud).

The power supply can be 6-12V, the internal battery is a 2-cell lithium polymer battery with 7.4V nominal voltage (6.6 – 8.4V, low to high). A stationary power supply can also be connected.

The motor controllers are a Jetpack open-source development: called Sensorimotor. They have rich sensory feedback (bidirectional current, supply voltage, temperature, 300° position, and speed) and provide various control modes such as position PID and Cognitive Sensorimotor Loops (CSL). The motors can also be used for simple sound generation (Beta).

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People, planets, robots

Just back from watching David Attenborough: A life on our planet.

If you haven’t, watch it. It’s on Netflix.

The movie makes a case on Biodiversity and highlights how biodiversity is connected in straightforward ways with our own health and prosperity. Remember that all of #Covid19 is itself only a part in an ongoing severe biodiversity crisis.

Planet earth as seen from orbit. This is one is stunning. Picture credits: By NASA/Bill Anders – http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a410/AS8-14-2383HR.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=306267

The view of earth shown in the picture above was not generally known to people before the late 1960s, except to a few imaginative visionaries. It is not about saving the planet though. It is about saving our own asses. Right here, right now. Anything else is procrastination, neglect, or worse. Anyway, lets not get stalled.

You ask, what does this have to do with Jetpack Cognition Lab? The answer is, just about everything. Read on to find out.

In whichever way exactly the sustainability turn is realized, there is going to be autonomous mobile robots in it.

Frame capture from “A life on our planet” at 1:13:13, Netflix, Fair use
Frame capture from “A life on our planet” at 1:13:40, Netflix, Fair use

These are likely scenarios but far from complete. Drones need support on the ground and up in the tree. They also need to go beneath the foliage because this is where it happens. That is all quite complicated stuff. The autonomous mobility of the robots we currently have is still a far cry from anything practically usable, and this includes affordable.

Mainstream promises have not realized anywhere despite trillions of sunk budgets, private and public. Remote death operations is as good as it gets.

The developments we are observing are not fast enough by some orders of magnitude. As more people need to be able to work on all that, the approach clearly needs to be massively diversified.

How is this done? You are right, with self-learning robots of course, with education and inspiration. This is a massive challenge and we need to take steps that might appear weird from the outside.

Where are you in this? We are very curious to learn and let us know anytime. Out here with the mobile Jetpack Cognition Lab and we need you support in every possible way.

Next, flatcat crowdfunding campaign.

flatcat is the next step towards creating robots that are built for learning all the way up. Does that scare you? good, this is how you and everyone else works, on the inside that is. Time to get to grips with yourself.

Your next robot is a pet

flatcat is a new robot for your home

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.

Links
https://flatcat.berlin

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.

https://jetpack.cl

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https://www.instagram.com/jetpackcognitionlab
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https://www.linkedin.com/company/jetpack-cognition-lab-inc

Researchers find new KPI

Researchers find previously unknown Key Performance Indicator (KPI). This is the story of their discovery.

Observing a bit and reading some public domain texts, We define a new Key Performance Indicator (#kpi) the Jetpack Cognition Indicator (JCI, jizzy)

jizzy := headway / energy

headway: as in the urban / relationship definition. since the planet is spherical, finite surface and so on, cannot easily quit the relationship and need to build on headway.

energy: all the funds you are using to make the headway claim plus all other resources claimed in the meantime.

For transparency we do not withhold that we propose in our own favor.

Switching topic, Watch closely for our upcoming campaign and level Meet flatcat

Our mission

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

Jetpack Cognition Lab 2020 Report

In 2020 Jetpack Cognition Lab, Inc. checked off these

1/ Created the German branch and became a legal German employer (look mom, no GmbH)

2/ Created 4 FTE and 2 student employments

3/ Launched our first product, Bakiwi – the fabulous DIY walking robot kit.

4/ Bakiwi is a hardware product manufactured at our lab in Berlin

5/ Bakiwi is an open source business model which is an explicit commitment to repairability and an extended value chain over the lifetime of our product

6/ Generated 100 international customers. those 100 is you, of course. thanks again for your great support and the incredible feedback. this is what keeps us going, let’s take it further.

7/ Manufactured and shipped 100 Baks getting data about quality in the field.

8/ Did our first crowdfunding campaign on @kickstarter which was funded successfully at 4K EUR and accounted for half of those 100 above

9/ To bracket, we entered 2020 on a ballistic path and managed to reconfigure to gliding. Now for distance and some power up

To keep going on a unique mission we need your support now and everywhere

Cheers