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