There are some people who are born to be fur parents, specifically to puppies and dogs. But there are also those who for one reason or another, whether allergies or living situations, cannot have an actual pet. Probably the next best thing to get is a virtual pet although that doesn’t seem to bring the same comfort as having an actual dog. Maybe the next best thing would be to get a dog-inspired robot, if you’re not scared of them one day becoming your robot overlord (although actual dogs can also be overlords).
Designer: Hengzhi Future Team
We’ve seen some robot dogs in the market but there’s still room for improvement in terms of mobility and functionality. Sparky is a new robot dog designed by a Chinese consumer robotic company and it says that it’s able to be more “realistic” in terms of movement and even the musculature of the animal that inspired it. Well, even though it’s meant to be a dog, their inspiration for the movement is based on various wildlife like horses and ostriches. The final look is meant to still be all canine though.
They studied how the limbs of these real animals moved and then incorporated them into modular connecting rods using an AIA actuator motor unit. The final result is that these musculoskeletal limbs lets Sparky be able to run, jump, and play just like a real dog, or at least the closest that a robot dog is able to do so. However, don’t expect it to be as cuddly as dogs since it’s actually made from metal. You get a shiny and sleek finish that may seem unnatural at first.
This robot dog is meant to be an alternative to a pet for those who cannot afford to keep a dog. It comes with a built-in camera and microphone so it can interact with its owners. It has an AI system that can understand commands and even “talk” with the people around it. You also get a remote control or a dedicated app that lets you control your metal pet and customize it according to what you may need in a four-legged companion.