Sunday, April 01, 2007

NeCoRo - The Lovely Cat

NeCoRo is a cat type communication robot developed by Omron Corporation, Japan. NeCoRo can respond appropriately to an individual’s emotions and movement. It can also have its own feelings and desires, which will be shown to its owner. Moreover, it can remember its name so that it can acknowledge its name when called. How does it achieve so many fantastic goals?

Firstly, it has sensing and recognition system. The tactile sensors locating in its head, chin and back can sense whether there is a stroking or patting on it. Apart from this, there is a microphone in its head so that it has the ability to detect sound and recognize the source. This is why it can remember its name after being called many times. A sight sensor in its nose prevents it from hitting on any obstacles. Last, an internal acceleration sensor helps it to recognize its position when cradling and spinning around.

Besides the sensors, the 15 actuators also play an important role. Its four legs, neck, tail, and even its eyelids and ears are equipped by actuators with many movement patterns. In addition, its mouse is equipped with a speaker which can vocalize 48 different cat sounds.

Apart from hardware, the software is also well developed. Through the recognition feedback, its feelings of anger, satisfaction, and uneasiness are generated. And according to physiological rhythms, it can express sleepiness or cuddling. Furthermore, a learning function and growth functions can let it behave like a real cat, which can communicate with its owner and respond appropriately.

NeCoRo is cool and lovely. It will definitely bring people happiness. Reference:

Liu Ming U048695H

15 comments: said...

The good thing about japan and korea is their focus of robots towards interaction with humans, rather then for some industry process. Soon it'll be common for robots to be in our houses too

Having a cat like that would come with a lot of advantages. Like.. no need to toilet train! no need to feed either. Although you'll probably need to recharge the batteries.

Can you imagine one day the cat gets so real that we cannot recognise the difference with a real cat.

Chen ZhaoLin

Chen Song Yi said...

Robots should be designed to compliment humans and thus the ability to live in a human environment. This means that robots need to be robust and flexible, similar to humans who can adapt.

Robots must also interact with humans. This means they need to be able to recognize human behavior as well as respond to it.

Humans need to be able to interact with robots. Which means that robots need to have realistic facial expression, gestures or movement. Meaning a cat has to act like a cat, not a automated soft toy. Behavorial quirks (which make animals and humans endearing) such as cats throwing tantrums are perhaps the hardest to program but they remain the one thing that prevents robots from being realistic.

Chen Song Yi

Assistive said...

It's a really cool cat..

Perhaps, additional functions could be added so that this cat can detect smoke and fire. It could even have some burglar alarm function too.

Ong Mei Yee U036855H

Assistive said...

Even if you are able to custom create all the possible emotions that a pet can have, it is still an artificial being after all. One unique aspect of natural behaviour (human/ animals) is the randomness and unpredicatability which is not easily recreated.

For example, wont you get bored of receiving the same happy look from your pet everytime you cuddle/hug it?

Assistive said...

Sorry. Forgot to write my name again....

U036367L Khoo Wei Chuan

Industry said...

I would really prefer a real cat over a robotic cat anyday. Yes, the toilet training and feeding are a bonus here however, its all about the interaction with another living being, the fact that it isn't programmed. I guess its quite scary to think that one day people might create robots as wives or husbands for companionship. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned :)

Seah Qiong Feng Sean

dars.explore said...

I agree with Qiong Feng, that a real cat is still better. The analogy on wives and husbands is very funny.. imagine a day when everyone wants a partner that is tailored-made and nag-free.

And although cost such as pet grooming can be saved, there is the absence of seeing the cat growing by the day.Just like having children, isn't seeing them grow and becoming more attached to you as the day goes by that make the relationship strong?

dars.explore said...

sorry i forgot to end off with my name for the comment before.

U036786J Yeo Kelly

dars.explore said...

Comment from Jin Yunye U037842W
This reminds me of one problem I read and thought about in a philosophy module: Can robots really have feelings and desires? Or are they merely just programed or constructed to appear to have feelings and desires? ( cat.appearUnhappy() )

Biologically, it seems the passing of weak eletrical signals and chemical substance between cells and neurons in our brain creates the human experience of "feeling". Consider this, if we could build a robotic brain which works in exactly the same mechanism like the human brain. Could we say that this robotic brain has feelings? A wilder question will be, can we regard this robot as some sort of human?

There are several interesting papers written by some PHILOSOPHERS, which talks about artificial intelligent robots and neuron networks. They raise problems like how these systems perceives, whether they can think, learn and feel even if they are computational based. Here is the links. said...

One objection towards robot cats seem to be the lack of emotions. But I believe that's something that can be programmed isn't it, even randomness, as Yunye pointed out earlier.

There are lots of other things to consider... No cat allergies, your cat will never die either. And if you can't take care of it anymore, there won't be a real life cat suffering when you abadone it, nor will the cat ever suffer and get sick.

I'm just pointing out various stuff, definitely it's a moral question to be debated over.

Chen Zhaolin
u036701h said...

I think this cat is very ineteresting. However, how alike is this cat as compared to a real cat in terms of health or will any sickness occur? Will it simulate the emotions a real cat experience if neglected? Probably these negative aspects is what makes us choose these animals as a companion. said...

I think this cat is very ineteresting. However, how alike is this cat as compared to a real cat in terms of health or will any sickness occur? Will it simulate the emotions a real cat experience if neglected? Probably these negative aspects is what makes us choose these animals as a companion

Lai Sing Zie

Edutainment said...

U036796E Lim Ruo Qi

I've always heard that SPCA had problems with pets that people buy on the spur of the moment and lose interest in it after a few days. 'NeCoro' could be put to good use here. Perhaps, pet associations could even rent out these robotic pets so that people can decide if they really want a pet. Although in this case its better if they programmed the 'troublesome' aspects of the pet such as the need to be fed frequently.
Parents can also buy this robotic pet to decide if their child is responsible enough to own one.

Industry said...

It looks so real,cool.
Keeping a robotic cat will get rid of the trouble of feeding the cat and maintaining a clean home for the cat.
But I am wondering if mouse will still be afraid of cat in the future when the 'cat' is so harmless.

Assistive said...

Having a robot cat as NeCoRo is much more convenient than having a real cat in term of cleaning and feeding. However, the robot cat lost the meaning of a true cat by catching mouse. So in my own opinion, NeCoRo cat is only an expensive toy.

Phan Tien Khoi