At CES 2020, one of the more well-represented gadget categories was definitely consumer robots — but none was more adorable than MarsCat, a new robo-pet from industrial robot startup Elephant Robotics.
This robot pet is a fully autonomous companion that can respond to touch and voice — and even play with toys, and it’s hard not to love the thing after spending even just a brief amount of time with it.
MarsCat’s pedigree is a bit unusual, since Elephant Robotics is focused on building what’s known as “cobots,” or industrial robots that are designed to work alongside humans in settings like factories or assembly plants.
Elephant, which was founded in 2016, already produces three lines of these collaborative robots and has sold them to client companies around the world, including in Korea, the U.S., Germany and more.
This new product is designed for the home, however, not the factory or the lab. MarsCat is the startup’s first consumer product, but it obviously benefits immensely from the company’s expertise and experience in their industrial robotics business. With its highly articulated legs, tail and head, it can sit up, walk, play and watch your movements, all working autonomously without any additional input required.
While MarsCat provides that kind of functionality out of the box, it’s also customizable and programmable by the user. Inside, it’s powered by a Raspberry Pi, and it ships with MarsCat SDK, which is an open software development library that allows you to fully control and program all of the robot’s functions. This makes it an interesting gadget for STEM education and research, too.