I thought this would be a good point to talk about what we really want out of this robot and what that might require. I am basing much of this off of real dogs. Let’s think about what people get out of having dogs as pets.
Keep your mind engaged
Staying one step ahead of your dog’s quirks and interests challenges even the best of dog owners. It also serves to keep one’s mind engaged in the battle of wits. This is particularly important for older owners.
Make you laugh
As I mentioned in my first post, loneliness is surging in the developed world. Pets fill a void in many lives that family used to. Silly dogs behaviors can bring a little laughter into an otherwise dreary existence.
Encourage physical exercise
You think you’re fitbit is annoying when it reminds you to get up and move around? Well, when a dog wants to go outside, it’s that to the nth degree. It forces you to engage in physical exercise to fulfill its own needs. Win Win!
A dog serves as an early warning system for your home. Burglars tend to avoid houses with dogs, so just the noise is enough sometimes to keep you safe.
So, that’s a good list of reasons why people get and keep dogs. In order to deliver some or all of the above, we will need some components which the robot will have to have to make good on our promise.
Our robot dog will have to be able to recognize through its camera(s) various people. It’s owner, family, visitors, etc. This will allow it to identify potential threats. Video recognition has progressed dramatically in the last few years. This is not as big a hurdle as it used to be. It’s still difficult, but just not mount everest difficult anymore.
It’s video recognition and software will allow it to display emotions and recognitive yours. If it sees you are sad, it will comfort you. If it sees you are excited, it will celebrate with you. Development of this is uncertain. More research will be necessary.
With microphones for hearing and a speaker for broadcasting, the dog will be able to recognize voices and make unique sounds to reflect acknowledgement. Maybe R2D2 style? 😉
As far as security goes, it will always be on monitoring the house using wifi. It can send an alert to your phone notifying you of an intruder. In an emergency, it can become a small battering ram to attack the intruder to buy you critical seconds to escape.
Finally, I am hoping to be able to get at least 45 minutes to an hour out of a charge. If the dog needs energy, it simply finds its wireless pad and sits down on it which will recharge it in a few hours. The dog will still be alert and receiving and submitting information.
How does that sound? That’s my AMEE. Size, I don’t know. Big enough to hold a few batteries but not unnecessarily big.
I’ll examine each of the above features that we have to add to the dog separately in detail.