Robotic pets have been around for a while, but the older versions were usually frightening (for example, the Furby). As robotics in general have improved, so have the quality of robotic pets, and while you’d be hard-pressed to find one willing to take a bullet for you, there are some options out there with their own charms. Ringo is one such robotic pet — it looks like of like a giant metal beetle, and via a load of on-board tech it can “play” with its owner and be altered using different code.
Ringo is packed with a variety of hardware that allows it to come alive, in a manner of speaking, including an Arduino UNO processor and, thusly, compatibility with standard Arduino functions. There’s a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope, as well as both line and edge sensor, IR and ambient light sensors (three of them), 6 RGB LEDs, and a speaker for producing sounds.
Oddly enough, there’s also a TV remote receiver, as well as the ability for these little bots to communicate with each other (all the better for forming your swarm of minions). As you can see in the video above, Ringo is agile and fast, and that is demonstrated in the 10 pre-loaded behaviors it’ll ship with. Those with the know-how to do so can build their own behaviors (the folks behind Ringo provide sample code).
The maker behind Ringo (Plum Geek) was looking to raise $12,000 USD on Kickstarter, and has thus far exceeded that with about $40,000 USD in pledges. There are 14 days remaining, and though the early bird units have all been nabbed, you can get one of the assembled units with an $89 USD pledge. Shipping will start in May of this year.