Cat-brushing robot draws all signs of contentment (w/ video)

Cat-brushing robot draws all signs of contentment (w/ video)

( -- Cat-grooming robot? It can happen, and it has, with software engineer Taylor Veltrop’s show of all he can do with the research robot Nao, along with the motion-sensing Kinect device, a head-mounted display (HMD), Wii remotes, and treadmill. The Tokyo-based Veltrop has a video out that demonstrates how Nao, a humanoid robot, is able to take a brush and gently apply it to the cat. With the exception of being bopped on the head, the cat indicates that it is a pleasant experience.

Kinect tracks Veltrop’s movements. When he bends or walks forward, for example, the obeys. The HMD controls the robot’s head and neck. The Wiimotes are used for each hand. With user on treadmill, Nao is navigated to walk forward and begin brushing the cat. The robot’s movements match the task, indicating adequate control. When the job is complete, Nao backs away, sits down and waves goodbye to the cat.

To those who are not into robotics, all that gadgetry and pupeteering for a few brush strokes might seem not only over the top but an utter waste of time. Robotics enthusiasts think otherwise.

Numerous blogger postings are commenting on the cat-brushing demo to point out that it is not so much what Nao did but how Nao did it and at what reasonable cost.

The cat-grooming demo is but one of many demos involving Nao and its many scenarios. The Nao humanoid robot, depending on edition, has 21 to 25 degrees of freedom and has ultrasonic sensors that control its positioning and stability.

From Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics, Nao has become a popular robot for use in research. As iProgrammer comments, “The Nao robot is a mega toy just waiting to happen.”

Earlier this year, Aldebaran Robotics announced that they will make a “significant” part of their source code as open source. aimed at growing a stronger developer community and improving the robot's capabilities.

In Aldebaran's Nao Developer Program, successful applicants get the latest NAO with SDK, access to the community website and special access to Aldebaran Robotics source code and support. Veltrop is a member of the Nao Developer Program.

Another telling statement came earlier this year was from Bruno Maisonnier, Aldebaran founder and CEO: “We want to share our middleware, our core communication library, our cross-platform build tools and other essential modules with researchers, developers and emerging projects in humanoid robotics."

What's more, the cat-grooming video interests enthusiasts because of what it suggests about the future use of telepresence.

In an effort to put Veltrop’s invention into the telepresence perspective, the ExtremeTech site asks to imagine that, if you are on the road, you could take an HMD and Wiimote and pat your cat remotely.

The Sebastian Anthony posting adds a prediction that “It won’t be long until every household has a cheap, teleoperated robot that can be logged into remotely.”

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Jan 03, 2012
Rofl...poor kitty..hahaha.

No, it's good., I love things like this. My suggestion:

Getting a cat and a Roomba familiarized with each other, mod a robosapian onto the vacuum cleaner, get the cat's owner's face made in smaller sizes:


Mount the face on the Robosapian, hack the Robosapian with Bluetooth through the Emotiv headset.

Something in animal research I've never heard of, is seeing what response they have to smaller versions of our faces and/or smaller versions of_us_.

It would be interesting, for ex, to get a dog/cat familiarized with the Robosapian/vacuum cleaner combo, then one day while the owner goes to work like normal, stick a 1/2 size replica of their face on the robot with a camera in one of the eyes, and a speaker to transmit voip from the owner through the bot to their pet.

Just out of curiosity...maybe they would be more receptive to machines/robots ?

Jan 03, 2012
If only my housecleaning robot was more programmable. Where are all the practical robots?

Jan 03, 2012
Finally!, mankinds dream of brushing cats through robotic avatars has been realized!, lolarious :)

Jan 03, 2012
It seems like all they proved is the promiscuity of your average cat.

Jan 03, 2012
Ok am I the only guy that would totally abuse this? I would be chasing my animals around the house with my robot and program it to make scary dinosaur noises.

Imagine the havoc!!

Jan 03, 2012
Sheldon Cooper has already built it. A Mobile Virtual Presence Device.

Jan 04, 2012
@Xbw - No, I too was thinking it would be cooler if the robot was chasing the cat around the house.

Jan 04, 2012
Laugh now, but remember:

Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet,

Jan 04, 2012
This sounds like the start of that movie.. Surrogates.

Jan 05, 2012
If that robot had any brains it would realize that pussies are best when shaved and de-clawed.

In other words, good luck when you go to work on your wife with that, but I see excellent potential as a spy bot.

Jan 05, 2012
I wish Robert Heinlein's terminology suggestions had caught on.

He proposed the term "waldo" for a remotely-operated device, reserving "robot" for autonomous devices.

As it is, the word "robot" is used so broadly that it fails to convey a coherent package of semantic information.

Jan 05, 2012
"With the exception of being bopped on the head, the cat indicates that it is a pleasant experience"

Maybe I have a warped sense of humor, but I thought that was the funniest sentence I've read (or heard) in a long time. ROFLMAO.

Poor cat!

Jan 08, 2012
Some people have far too much time on their hands...

Jan 08, 2012
Anyone else read, "Cat-brushing robot draws all signs of contentment (w/ video)" as "Cat-CRUSHING robot draws all signs of contentment (w/ video)"?

Maybe I read too much destructive robot fiction in my childhood.

Jan 08, 2012
That's nice, however now I wish he had it be able to feed the cat, and change it's water. Now that would be a nice feature.

Imagine: "Oh poo, I forgot to feed the cat today and I'm already at work... Wait I'll just log into my robot and get it done"

I think it would be pretty sweet and useful, but maybe that's just me

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