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Since the invention of the first robot dog, robot pet evolution has drastically changed. While market demand and pop culture played roles in the evolution, it’s the development of various technologies and designs that helped innovate robot pets.
Let’s take a look at some of the groundbreaking technologies and designs that helped shape robot pet evolution over time.
The features of robot pets are made possible because of the technologies installed in them. As the field of robotics and science continues to develop, more technologies are either being added or improved to innovate robot pet evolution further.
Furby was the groundbreaking robot pet that integrated AI into its features. With AI integration, Furby was able to interact, learn, and respond to its owners. It communicated in “Furbish”, which is one of its key features and selling points.
Consequently, the ability of Furby to integrate AI into its system set a standard for future robot pets to follow. Thus, robot pet models today now use AI to perform tasks faster and more accurately. Said tasks can vary from navigating the environment to responding to voice commands.
The creation of PARO the therapeutic seal robot introduced the concept of integrating sensors into the technology of robot pets. PARO made use of five sensors; tactile, light, audition, temperature, and posture, all of which allowed the robot pet to interact with people and its environment.
The adoption of sensors by other robot pets allowed manufacturers to create more models to have more lifelike movements and responses.
The use of cameras in robot pets dates back to 1999 with the invention of AIBO. At the time, cameras were only used as AIBO’s ‘eyes’ to detect images and objects along the way. Nowadays, robot pets have cameras installed in various parts for other functions.
There are robot pets who would have stereo cameras and side cameras on top of cameras for eyes to help with advanced image detection. There are also robot pets that would use these cameras for added home surveillance.
Next to AI, ML is a revolutionary technology that has been integrated into robot pets. With machine learning algorithms, robot pets can not adapt to people and the environment in a quicker and more advanced manner.
This helps them learn as they go, update themselves, and respond to real-time situations. Overall, this helps robot pets act more like their living counterparts.
Over time, robot pet designs have changed because of varying roles, trends, and innovations. While these largely depend on the manufacturer, three designs played the most roles in the evolution of robot pets.
The market’s rejection of Sparko’s mechanical look and design catapulted inventors to create a robot pet that is less robot and more cartoonlike. Hence, Furby was born and it was a commercial success. It paved the way for the market to embrace robot pets as adorable intelligent toys that are notches above stuffed toys.
Thus, robot pets with cartoonish designs remain to be a staple in models of today. Albeit, with some sporting a more updated look.
Proving to be a revolutionary robot pet, AIBO was the first model to successfully use a futuristic robotic design without turning off or intimidating the market. This futuristic design excited the market as it further highlighted that they were playing with a robot first and a pet second.
The design helped in the evolution of robot pets as later models would use it as their base look. It also paved the way for manufacturers and companies to adopt such a design to enhance the technologies to be integrated.
The use of lifelike designs revolutionized how robot pets were received and perceived by society. With a lifelike design, robot pets were more seriously viewed as alternatives for their living counterparts, most especially if these models had advanced technologies that allowed them to move realistically.
A lifelike design would mean robot pets evolved from looking like toys and robots to looking (and even feeling) like real pets.
Numerous innovations in technologies and design paved the way for robot pet evolution. All these developments helped shape the robot pets we have to love and use to this day. As the field of robotics and science continues to progress, we can also expect new trends that will soon play roles in the continuous evolution of robot pets.