for several big global problems (humane elderly care, regenerative agriculture, cleaning up the garbage planet) we need really cool robots that are cheap. for this they have to be able to learn properly. this is difficult but we (as a community) know how to do it. everything we do is for the plan to build cool self-learning robots that you really want to hang out with and that don't need help all the time :)
für mehrere grosse globale probleme (humane altenpflege, regenerative landwirtschaft, müllplanet aufräumen) brauchen wir richtig coole roboter die billig sind. dafür müssen sie richtig gut lernen können. das ist schwierig aber wir (als community) wissen wie es geht. alles was wir machen dient dem plan, coole selbstlernende roboter zu bauen, mit denen man auch wirklich abhängen möchte und die nicht andauernd selber hilfe brauchen :)
Very nice piece in German on Heise by Hans-Arthur Marsiske on robots as play companions. The article is part of a series on robots in everyday life and titled Robots in everyday life: The playmate. We are very excited to see flatcat discussed extensively including a video interview with Jetpack founder / CTO Matthias Kubisch, among coverage of Playful machines by Ralf Der ad Georg Martius, as well as a good sample of other playmate robots available on the market. In relation, this highlights the unique approach and character of flatcat within the larger robotics ecosystem.
Quoting as a teaser
This thing is a robot, is called Flatcat and does – nothing: It just wants to play. It is not capable of doing anything else at all. Its developers at Jetpack Cognition Lab, a Berlin-based company founded in 2019, have not equipped it with displays or other means of data input, nor with visual or auditory sensors. Flatcat only perceives forces acting on it, reacts to them and gradually develops a behavior from these experiences.
Anyone who brings this techno-pet into their home or laboratory will have the opportunity to follow the development of its thinking ability and thus of an artificial personality up close and in real time – just like a biological pet.
Hans-Arthur Marsiske, Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Another day, another overdue update. What is happening at Jetpack Cognition Lab since we last wrote?
Main prototype flatcat2 is running smoothly on the new energy module for days. Last week we ordered the Lipo batteries to be used in your flatcats. They are standard cells (18650) that can be easily replaced in case of a battery failing. In the house already.
Same goes for the motors, order has been placed with the manufacturer and we are waiting for the shipment, expected to arrive in a few weeks.
Development currently focuses on extending the basic behavior we have right now with more elaborate exploration algorithms which will lead to more diverse episodes of different things it does.
What started to impinge on us as a flickering halo quickly turned into a full out real global phenomenon, driven by our ~friends~ of #automotive: a global semiconductor shortage. For several flatcat related PCB designs we could not acquire the required chips and packages anymore. Too bad, so we turned forward and redesigned the boards to accommodate available packages. These will be sent to manufacture soon and comprise the last big chunk of supplies we need before we can finish the hardware aka flatcat chassis. This is how we roll.
The flatcat endurance poster is WIP and we will at some point come back with this specifically to get your early feedback on a few design variations.
On tangential notes, we had a TV crew in the house last week for shooting an episode to be included in the “Einfach genial” (Simply genius) format of German public channel MDR. The piece is going to be aired September upwards, keep you posted when it’s hot.
A new application for flatcat was discovered recently in the lab, which is realtime control of musical parameters through the force sensitive interface that the robot is. Here, we are sending 2 x 4 state variables from the joints to a digital sysnthesizer using OpenSoundControl. It works very well and was used in a public performance at the legendary and exclusive NNOI festival an hour north of Berlin on the weekend July 2-4, 2021.
Finally, if you want to read more, we have a fresh piece of techno-philosophy posted on the blog here.
Always love to have your feedback and learn what you are up to.