Robocat – the pet of the future

Call him by name and he comes, stroke him and he purrs, but mistreat him and he’ll turn nasty. Tama the robot cat is just like the real thing, even down to the size and weight. And with his fuzzy self learning capability, his personality will grow according to how you treat him.

Tama was developed as part of Omron’s R&D investment in human machine interface technology and machine intelligence technology. The prototype incorporates Omron’s most advanced sensing, emotional modelling and mechanical technologies to create life-like reactive and autonomous behaviour stimulated by its users and its surroundings.

Highly sensitive tactile sensors, consisting of switches and piezo-electric sensors, are positioned in the cat’s body, face and back. These sensors allow Tama to recognise when he is being touched, stroked, held or hit and to sense his own body position. A fuzzy logic interface is used to determine the characteristics of these touches and Tama’s subsequent reaction. For example, when the cat is stroked, he evaluates this as an expression of affection and reacts accordingly.

Tama’s auditory abilities are afforded by microphones positioned in the head which sense the intensity and direction of the sound and cause the cat to look up in the direction of the sound. Tama can also asses whether something is approaching him if the sound becomes louder. Tama’s self-learning ability allows him to memorise his name and behave in an excited or peaceful fashion on hearing it. He even has 12 different meow patterns.

Based on all the sensor input collected, Tama generates emotions such as satisfaction, anger and anxiety and displays the actions that correspond to these emotions. This emotional model has been made possible by Omron’s MAC (Mind and Consciousness) model, which integrates artificial intelligence and fuzzy logic technologies.

In addition to generating these reactive emotions, the system uses a programmed cyclic physiological rhythm pattern to allow Tama to express proactive feelings and desires such as wanting to sleep or to be stroked and held.

Omron Tel: 0181 450 4646