flatcat – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – 🐛

Back to flatcat

Why flatcat?

… the world is complex. To find their way in it, our machines must learn to learn. On their own. And a major part of learning is to keep it simple and simply play around …

/ᐠ。ᆽ。ᐟ✿\ノ

Can I take off the fur and wash it?

🧺 🧼 🚿

Yes, the fur can be taken off and put back on again. This way you can also swap your flatcat’s fur for another one, depending on the day of week or something. Well, while the other one is being washed. We don’t have data yet on what happens when you actually wash the fur but a low temperatur (40 deg C) should certainly be possible. A fur safely washable at 60 deg C might still need a bit more research.

What is the status of flatcat?

📈

2021-08-17 flatcat prototype tested for >100 hours and works. flatcat extended behavior, interaction modes, and configuration / update still work in progress. We expect to be shipping the first flatcats by the end of Sept 2021

Where can I order flatcat and how much does it cost?

🛒 🛍️ 💰

The first set of flatcats got funded via Kickstarter in May. You can send us a direct message on Email, Twitter, or Facebook if you are interested in pre-ordering one of the few surplus exemplars. The price is the same as during the campaign, shipping will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Hi, Can the flatcat be turned off when you leave the house?

📴 🔛

Yes, the flatcat can be turned off and back on again via a button accessible on the advanced energymodule.

Can you turn it off when you go to work?

Yuk. flatcat really wants to be alive, but, there is a button on the side sported on the energymodule that let’s you turn her off during the day or when you are on vacation or on a no-robots-sabbatical.

Will something happen to her if she falls off the couch?

Probably not, if she falls off the couch. The higher she falls and also depending on the surface where it hits the ground, of course she is subject to physics and will eventually break. flatcat is repairable though, you could either reprint broken parts on your friends’ 3D printer or get a replacement from Jetpack. We have dropped her from moderate heights quite a few times during testing over the last months and they have survived all of that.

How will I see her develop a personality?

This is work in progress. What you will see right away, is that she will do things differently depending on the surface and material you put it on. With a memory of experience in place, she will most automatically develop a different personality depending on what she has seen during her life.

Is there an app for it?

No, not yet. In a way we like the “no-app” approach but we see that an app is just sooo practical for all kinds of things. Also, people ask about an app repeatedly and we take this serious.

Whether his movements are pre-programmed and whether certain human behaviors trigger a given reaction.

No, and yes. Technically, of course flatcat is programmed, in that there is a computer program that generates the behavior. The level at which it is programmed though, does mostly not correspond with the level at which we humans experience behavior.

Tickling out particular flatcat behaviors with your own behavior towards her is of course one important part of the game. In the spirit of “can you find all the things that flatcat can do?”

Does each flatcat react differently to given behavior and develop individually?

See answer above on “Will she develop a personality?”.

Yes, they can all be initialized with varying base parameters and then behave and develop differently as individuals. These are like seeds for Minecraft worlds or some other game. The amount of variation and the ways this can be reset and so are work in progress.

Does it react to sounds?

No yet, this is certainly one of the main features we are going to be looking at next. She should be able to dance and synchronize to music and other periodic motions.

What kind of interactions can I have with her? Only touch?

Yes. As we will first ship flatcat, she will only respond to touch, or more precisely, to the force she feels on her joints. No wait, that’s not the whole truth. flatcat will most likely ship with an IMU as well. The IMU helps it to know its orientation in space. Sound and audio perception will most likely be added next.

Have you tried collars on Flaty? What size should it be?

Is not a fixed size because it depends strongly on the fur, there are thinner and thicker ones, so ideally it should be of adjustable length.

As an upside, she has no neck 😆 so the collar can also be a headband, waistband or tailband.

And when she falls off the couch, something will happen to her?

See above. The higher the fall and the harder the surface where she hits the ground, the worse the outcome. If she is wearing a fur, that will help dampen the impact. Given enough force, all things break ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Can I choose the color of the fur?

No and yes. To start shipping as fast as possible we need to keep things simple. The choice of fur and design is not trivial, as flatcat needs to be able to move inside the fur, stretch and loosen it, depending on which way she turns, etc. Not all of the furs do have the required properties. So first things first, we need to come up with at least a single fur that works well, then take it from there. We will share the fur design documents, so you will be able to play around with your custom fur and share your results.

Paar fragen oooo wonderful. I am curious about the price, when it will be available for purchase.

See above. It is available for pre-order on direct messaging. The price is the same as on Kickstarter, shipping is done on a first-in-first-out basis.

What is the development option?

This is not so much of an option anymore. The idea was to maybe use two different brain modules, an Arduino for the user version, and a Rapsberry Pi for the developer version. Current status is, they will all be shipped with Raspy for reasons of simplicity. The difference in cost is negligible for the current numbers we will make.

How does she learn and what, e.g. will she understand English?

She learns through a process called self-exploration. No, she will not understand English anytime soon. You can of course hack your own natural language module for flatcat and share it with us so it can be provided to other users and developed further.

As soon as she starts to be able to hear sounds, she will come to a kind of preverbal (no words, just sounds, like you talk to animals) understanding of the world.

Or will she learn from our touch?

Yes. Learning from touch is the most basic experience flatcat, and people as well, have to go through. Everything else we learn, always goes through the force of touch. This is called the grounding.

Will she need praise for certain behaviors?

No. It will be able to praise itself to get going. Anything else is work in progress.

What does the material look like, can it be cleaned of quality, is it durable, because, for example, if it will walk, it will not wipe the fur right away.

The final materials we will use are not definite yet. See question(s) above. If she is able to walk so much that the fur wears off, that will be a real accomplishment and we will immediately provide you with a lifetime supply of replacement fur.

In general, what can I know or know my owner, there is no webcam in total.

No, currently there is no remote view mode available. This should be part of the app, which is discussed in another question above.

Hey kann man Flatcat zurzeit vorbestellen? Wurde gefragt

Ja, definitiv. und zwar einfach über DM / email nehmen wir selbstverständlich Vorbestellungen entgegen.

Irgendwann landet sie dann auch im Bakiwi Shop.

Und was ist sie in der Lage zu lernen also genau?

Im nächsten Schritt und vor der ersten Auslieferung, werden wir “intrinsische Motivations-algorithmen” implementieren.

Das ist sowas wie künstliche Neugier, es sind also Explorationsalgorithmen die Robot erlauben, ohne schon etwas zu wissen einfach Sachen auszuprobieren und etwas über die Welt herauszufinden.

Die dabei gefundenen Mōglichkeiten könnte sie sich dann merken und beim nächsten Mal etwas anderes probieren und dabei vorher gefundene Handlungsmöglichkeiten verwenden. Ab und zu müsste sie aber auch probieren ob früher einmal gefundene Möglichkeiten immer noch bestehen.

Hello! The What a charming robot the Flatcat! I’d like to make a stories about it and ask my friends what do you think about😊. I haven’t found short video for stories. Could you tell me, where I can find it?

Ah, with pleasure.

flatcat ~ Your next robot is a pet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWqo2P_viWA

flatcat ~ and how people react to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Fx-jfwh60

Playing around with a flatcat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIPktgG2l2E

More information

flatcat landing page – https://flatcat.berlin

flatcat Kickstarter page – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bakiwi/flatcat

flatcat developer whitepaper

flatcat Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/flatcat