Robot dogs have been around for a while now, but most of them can’t replace the emotional connection that exists between us and man’s best friend.
But with a little help from artificial intelligence (AI), robotics company Koda thinks it can change that. Its new robot dog is specifically designed to socially interact with people, and can even understand human emotions.
In an attempt to replicate the bond between real-life dogs and their owners, Koda uses its AI system to help the robot dog sense whether its owner is happy, sad or excited, and over time the dog is able to learn and train itself on how best to respond to how humans are feeling.
Check it out in more detail below:
Koda isn’t the first company to produce a robotic emotional support pet, but its robot dogs are among the most advanced out there. As well as acting as a companion, its dogs can also act as guide dogs for the visually impaired, or even as guard dogs – although, reassuringly, they’re not able to attack humans. Unlike the robotic dogs developed by Boston Dynamics, Koda’s dogs are limited to learning from what they encounter, meaning each dog will develop its own unique set of skills and experiences.
CEO Emma Russell describes the dog as ‘a functional piece of home technology, a family pet and a piece of art, all at once’, adding that, rather than coming fully-loaded straight out of the box, it ‘evolves from a puppy-like state to a robotic dog with the intelligence of a supercomputer’.
According to Koda, the ability of the robot dogs to learn and perform such a wide range of complex tasks is down to the company’s ‘blockchain-enabled decentralised Artificial Intelligence’, which enables to dogs to continuously adapt while protecting their data from hacks or alterations.
The robot dog, which has 14 high-torque motors allowing it to replicate the movements of its real life counterparts, also comes packed with a whole lot of tech designed to help it respond to its surroundings as well as its owners needs. It comes with multiple sensors, 3D depth cameras at the front, back and either side, and a series of microphones capable of recognising its owner’s voice. Koda has also equipped it with a 13mp camera and high-res display, so you can finally find out exactly what life looks like through your pet pooch’s eyes.
An emotionally sensitive dog that you don’t have to walk or clean up after might sound like an appealing idea, but unsurprisingly this kind of technology doesn’t come cheap. Koda’s robot dog is available from $45,000, which although is still some way off the $75,000 price tag for Boston Dynamics’ own robot dog Spot, probably means our real life furry friends don’t need to worry about being replaced any time soon.
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