jetpack updates 2021-09-08 🐛 flatcat 🪲 Bakiwi workshop 👘 cognition wear

Hi all, dumping a stack of updates from the last few days

flatcat PCBs in the house

The manufactured PCBs for sensorimotor & energymodule arrived at the lab yesterday. This lead to the first run of component placement and baking in the oven today, to obtain the fully assembled electronics boards required for making a flatcat. This seemed to have worked reasonably well and the first sensorimotor was put into operation successfully.


flatcat furs

Another fur has arrived this week from the prototyping done by our collaborator Karen Ellmer. The amount of available fake fur materials is pretty stunning. Right now we are working with a selection from the samples we have, to find a minimal functional design that we can ship with. Something that feels amazing and allows the cat to move freely.


Bakiwi workshop Sept 2021

The first Bakiwi workshop after lockdown took place on Saturday, quite successfully with nine (9) Bakiwis walking out the door on their own for nine teams of builders. It was great to have all of you and we hope you enjoyed as much as we did. To be done again, watch out for upcoming dates.

These are two examples of RTFM

We had a baby rat (some say it was a mouse) coming in for a visit. It then had to be removed from the premises via this contraption.


jetpack cognition wear

Our apparel campaign is coming along quite well, and like all that we do, subject to heavy development on the go. We now have demonstration exemplars for all three base colors. This is the black one, the lilac one will be posted soon.

But then taste this full use case as a robot pet holder, observed recently outside our lab.

For those of you who having one of the shirts, here is the true samples for the shirt’s base color. The jetpack tee two there is all of them in sizes S, M, L (limited quantities). For the direct-to-garment corporate insignia prints, we will only do anthracite and white. Go check.


Random stuff

We installed open graph and Twitter card plugins for our wordpress so social sharing is much improved with nice automatic summary previews.

Thank you, that’s it for today. As always, feel free to be in touch about your questions and comments, we hear you.

Cheers, opt + kubi @jetpack central 💮🎴🌸

🐛 flatcat comic 💬

thanks to and by way of our sparkling ✨ community we are able share to you the first ever flatcat comic 🐛 💬 🖼️

all the credits go to @JuliaRehling89 for initiating ❇, and @SilvolfStudios / http://www.silvolfstudios.co.uk for executing 💥

Amazing, thanks 💎

Original source

👘 jetpack cognition wear live on Indiegogo

Yuhu! The jetpack cognition wear merchandise campaign is live and online on Indiegogo since last Friday, Aug 27.

jetpack sweater
jetpack sweater demo video

Wearing it looks like this, in front of the lab, and inside.

Is available in three base colors dark blue, black, lilac. Size can be chosen from standard size table, see campaign page for a size chart.

In addition to the amazing sweater designed and manufactured in cooperation with Elle Janssen / hit-in.tv, two types of printed t-shirts are available, the jetpack tee two (2), and the jetpack tee one (1).

jetpack tee two

Comes with three different motifs to choose from and shown in the picture. Usage example photos are shown below too.

📖 Jetpack story Mini

We have been making up, writing, and expounding our story over the months and years. Spontaneously, this seems to be a very short version of the bigger arc in very simple words.

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 :)

🪲 Bakiwi Workshops in Berlin

Please find an English version below.

Liebe Bakiwifans,

Danke für Eure zahlreichen Nachfragen, endlich ist es soweit:

Wir machen wieder Bakiwi-Workshops \o/

Wenn Ihr Lust habt, Euren ersten Laufroboter selbst zu bauen, inklusive Löten lernen, dann holt Euch Euer Ticket für eine der vier Workshop-Sessions in Berlin-Friedrichshain am 3. oder 4. September.

Im Workshop lernt Ihr, wie Ihr Euren Bakiwi-Laufroboter lötet und zusammenbaut und wie Ihr immer wieder neue Roboter-Beine erfinden könnt. Ihr dekoriert Euren Roboter mit Hilfe der bereitgestellten Materialien individuell und am Ende der Session können alle Teilnehmenden ihre Kreationen präsentieren und die Roboter gemeinsam laufen, hüpfen und tanzen lassen.

Dieser Workshop ist für Junggebliebene, für Neugierige und für Kinder ab 7 Jahren. Für den Workshop sind keine besonderen Vorkenntnisse erforderlich. Kinder unter 12 Jahren müssen von einer erwachsenen Person (z.B. Tante oder Opa) begleitet werden.

Ein Lötkolben und alle Werkzeuge, die Ihr zum Bau Eures Roboters benötigt, werden von uns zur Verfügung gestellt. Ihr müsst nichts mitbringen, außer Spaß und Neugier. Gerne könnt Ihr aber auch eigene Bastel- oder Upcycling-Materialien für Roboterbeine und Dekorationen mitbringen.

Die Workshops finden in Berlin-Friedrichshain statt, den aktuellen Veranstaltungsort und die Termine entnehmt Ihr bitte der Ticketseite. Unsere Vormittags-Session beginnt um 10 Uhr und die Nachmittags-Session beginnt um 15 Uhr. Der Workshop dauert ca. 3-4 Stunden.

Wir freuen uns auf Euch!
Liebe Grüße
Oswald und Matthias von Jetpack



Dear Bakiwi fans, thanks for your numerous request, finally it’s happening:

We’re doing Bakiwi workshops again \o/

If you’re keen on building your first walking robot yourself, including learning to solder, then get your ticket for one of the four workshop sessions in Berlin-Friedrichshain on September 3rd or 4th.

At the workshop, you will learn how to solder and assemble your Bakiwi walking robot and all the different ways to create new legs over and over again. You will individually decorate your robot with the help of the provided materials and at the end of the session, all participants can present their creations and let the robots run, hop and dance together.

This workshop is for the young at heart, for the curious, and for children from 7 years. The workshop is beginner-friendly. No previous knowledge is necessary. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult (e.g. aunt or grandpa)

The workshops will take place in Berlin-Friedrichshain, please find the actual location and dates on the ticket site. Our morning session starts at 10 a.m. and the afternoon session starts at 3 p.m. The workshop lasts around 3-4 hours.

A soldering iron and all the tools needed to build your robot are provided by us. You don’t have to bring anything with you, except fun and curiosity. You are welcome to bring your own handicraft or upcycling materials for robot legs and decorations.

We look forward to you!
Kind regards
Oswald and Matthias from Jetpack

🧠 Russian teddies and Martian cats

Turns out, we are huge fans of Simon Stålenhag for his highly imaginative and gripping visual and narrative universe. Most recent addition to our collection is “Things from the flood“, an illustrated novel from 2016, set to take place after the closing of the loop, an advanced research facility playing the lead in the preceding book “Tales from the loop“.

One particular page struck me as highly relevant to what we’re trying to achieve with our work at Jetpack Cognition Lab. It is reproduced below as a testimony, a mini-episode titled “The Russian Teddy”.

The episode contains a few elements that are real and worth a closer look. There is the notion of trashy AI-ware which leads to an overall expectation of a simulation of a personality, rather than a true character of a robot. There is the aspect of asymmetry in regulations across different regions and markets, leading to an inflow of dark imports from less regulated domains to more regulated ones. Market physics, yes. Thirdly, there is the desire of the human kid to go to the end and find out whether the robot’s behavior is really only simulated, or if there is something underneath overt behavior, which comes closer to the singular existential experience we, and all other biological life claim to have, coming out regularly when threatened with death by external agenthood.

To us, as the roboticists and general life-embracing creatives we are, this is precisely antithetic, a negative example, a scenario that we would like to avoid, and that we think we know how to avoid. It is the reason why we insist that robots need to be strongly grounded in the most basic perceptions upwards for everything they do, and be functionally honest. That means, that robots shouldn’t pretend to have spoken language competence, for example, when they don’t have a lot of many more basic audio-motor skills, that humans and animals do have. The basic skills in this example would be awareness of sound sources, their locations, the fundamental characteristics of a sound source, like something dangling in the wind, a machine whirring, or an animal or human doing some activity, up to distinguishing between a non-word utterance and spoken language proper. This is just to name a few. All of our own perceptions, especially those that enter the conscious mind, are always based on literally thousands of subordinate cues. This is not a bug, this is a feature. It is what makes our perceptions so incredibly robust, for all practical purposes (fapp).

Our hypothesis here is, that machines built in such a way, and only such machines, will get close enough to an appropriate behavior because there will be plenty of micro-cues and preceding evidence for the development of a situation, allowing it to understand and change its behavior long before any irreversible escalation.

The “Russian Teddies” were cuddly toys equipped with simple AI chips and a voice module. They were supposed to be able to talk to you, and they were supposed to at least appear to have a personality. In Sweden, AI chips were banned for commercial use, and most AI electronics were smuggled in from Russia, which apparently had a different view of artificial intelligence and artificial life.

Simon Stalenhag, Things from the flood, translated with deepl.com from German edition, page 22

Die »russischen Teddys« waren mit simplen AI-Chips und Sprachmodul ausgestattete Kuscheltiere. Man sollte sich mit ihnen unterhalten können, und sie sollten zumindest den Anschein erwecken, eine Persönlichkeit zu haben. In Schweden waren AI-Chips für den kommerziellen Gebrauch verboten, und die meiste AI-Elektronik wurde aus Russland eingeschleust, wo man offenbar eine andere Meinung zu künstlicher Intelligenz und künstlichem Leben vertrat.

Simon Stalenhag, Things from the flood, German edition, page 22

🐛 This thing is a robot, name flatcat, and does – nothing ⁂

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)

Recommended, thanks.

🐛 flatcat updates and more

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.

Box of 18650 batteries, three for each flatcat

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.

Sensorimotor PCB with new chip package visible at the far end
Sensorimotor PCB with new chip package visible at the far end
Multiple sensorimotor PCBs lined up for further processing
Multiple sensorimotor PCBs lined up for further processing

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.

No one took a photo on the day 🥶 have to use this one instead

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.

Read on Mailchimp | Read on Kickstarter

⁂ Computational ethology – Who we are and what we do

We have been building autonomous machines for over twenty years and have become scientists on a mission to communicate. Our disciplines are computer science, psychology, biology, neuroscience, physics, art. Our subject is behavior.

What is behavior? Everything we do is behavior. We, as in humans, people, robots, and so on. Everything every animal ever does is behavior. Finding your way through the city is behavior, lifting a glass to drink is behavior, washing, talking, scratching yourself, building a house, etc. You get the picture.

How does behavior come about? How is behavior changed and adapted when the circumstances change? How do animals learn when there is no text book? How can self-learning robots benefit from this knowledge? Which behavior is more intelligent than another behavior?

Then, what is artificial intelligence, AI? Well, the A is trivial and we are stuck with “what is I?”.

Intelligence depends on the context. The deep sea is a different context than urban sprawl. A spaceship’s atmosphere (like earth) with little CO2 in it is a different context than one with a lot of CO2 in it. Depending on the premise the same behavior is more or less intelligent.

Intelligence includes the capacity to change behavior. This is itself a behavior. First to find out in which way it should be changed, and then, yeah .. changing it! For this you need motivation, curiosity, playfulness, exploration, creativity, problem solving.

The are two big social-economic questions. The first one is, what is our relationship with nature. The other one is, what’s our relationship with our self. The science of intelligence can contribute here with insights based on quantitative methods. Because, hurray, it turns out that not a single one of our decisions comes about in the way we thought it does, historically. The introspective perception available to everyone’s conscious experience is largely wrong, or
misleading.

To really get ahead, we need to get more people onto the science of adaptive behavior.

For this we choose approachability on purpose, much in contrast to almost any other style chosen by our competition, and established institutions in the field. This is realized through simplicity, absurdity, and softness. Pet-like robots and synthetic animals.

This provides the perfect playground for fully embodied learning on a given body with all its individual peculiarities. Get behavior grounded in self-perception. Honest machines have more fun.

Looking forward to meeting you on the way.

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 Verbrauchermärkte weltweit in Form von Babyrobben, Hundewelpen oder einem schwanzwedelnden Kissen. Jetzt bekommen sie Gesellschaft von einer überfahrenen 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 für einige tatsächlich so sein. Für 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, erhältlich. 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 ansässigen 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 Kräfte seiner eigenen Bewegung und die von außen durch Menschen oder einfach durch die Schwerkraft erzeugten Kräfte zu spüren und darauf zu reagieren.

Die Fähigkeit, Kräfte direkt in den Gelenken zu spüren, erlaubt es Flatcat, neugierig zu sein und seinen eigenen Körper und die Welt auf die sicherste Art und Weise zu erkunden. Die Technologie dafür 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 für Wissenschaftler und Hacker:innen gleichermaßen, da er neben seiner hochmodernen sensomotorischen Sensibilität auch Open Source, erweiterbar und modifizierbar ist.

Links und Videos

Über Jetpack Cognition Lab

Seit seinen Anfängen im Jahr 2019 bringt Jetpack Cognition Lab radikale Innovationen aus der wissenschaftlichen Forschung auf den Konsumentenmarkt. Die Gründer des Labs sind Dr. Oswald Berthold und Matthias Kubisch. Sie lernten sich während ihres Studiums an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin kennen und taten sich zusammen, um die schrägsten und lustigsten Roboter der Welt zu entwickeln.

Berthold ist ein in österreichischer Künstler-Technologe, geboren in Graz, der schon mit dem Kollektiv farmersmanual Musikgeschichte geschrieben hat, indem er neuartige Stile und innovative Ansätze zur digitalen Musikproduktion und -veröffentlichung im Internetzeitalter einführte. Spätestens seit er 2018 seine Promotion in Robotik innerhalb der Adaptive Systems Group der HU Berlin abgeschlossen hat, ist er damit beschäftigt, 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 für adaptive Echtzeitalgorithmen und maschinelles Lernen, sondern auch ein genialer Elektronikdesigner und Produktvisionär.

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Images

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