As a cat owner myself, I was surprised by how realistic the tail moved, especially with how its wagging intensity increased as I petted it harder (my cat would eventually warn me with a bite). Interestingly, the stroking detection is mostly done with just one accelerometer inside the body, according to CEO Shunsuke Aoki. He added that despite the cat-like appearance, the realistic tail movement is actually based on research on both cat and dog behavior. Still, I’d like to think of Qoobo as more of a cat, and that’s me speaking as an owner of both a cat and a dog.
The idea of Qoobo originated from one of Yukai Engineering’s 20 employees in an internal competition about half a year ago. The designer had a cat, but since the apartment she moved into didn’t allow pets, she had to leave her cat with her parents. This inspired her to come up with a lifelike pet substitute that would make her feel better whenever she thought of her cat. And of course, this would double as a therapy robot for potentially treating depression and anxiety, as not everyone has access to a therapy cat or dog for various reasons — be it costs, allergies or the aforementioned apartment restrictions.
Qoobo will be launched via a crowdfunding platform later this year for around $100, and it’s expecting a June 2018 delivery. It’ll have two color options: “husky gray” and “French brown.” The final product will have an eight-hour battery life with USB charging, though Aoki has yet to decide where to place the USB port. Admittedly, we had a good laugh about this, too.
— Engadget 中文版 (@EngadgetChinese)