The Loona petbot is ready to roll into your home life
Folks, we’re a sociable bunch. To that end, we are pre-programmed to develop technology that helps us stay connected to others. Sometimes, however, the connection may be with the technology itself. Enter Loona, the lovable pet robot that will either melt your heart or, at the very least, serve as a loyal smart home companion (or hopefully both).
The Loona appears to be exactly halfway between the adorableness of Anki’s Cozmo and Amazon’s high-end Astro home device. There’s obviously a focus on younger users here, but kids of “all ages” can find themselves engrossed in its charms. Loona is apparently also designed to interact well with any analog pets you may already have.
Equipped with a 3D camera and edge sensors for navigating your home, Loona also has a regular camera for face detection and object recognition. There are four microphones that allow Loona to find you as you point and touch sensors, so she can rely on your headbangs with eerily biological authenticity. At first, it will respond to a variety of verbal commands and gestures, and the company claims new ones will be added all the time. There will also be a graphical programming tool so you can create your own interactions and a community to share them.
One of the most attractive features is Loona’s expressive personality. Loona’s digital eyes are amazingly articulated and feel like they’re straight out of a Disney movie. The company indicated that it may also have the option to add further customized expressions and emotions.
Beyond being a digital pet, Loona can also function as a home security and monitoring system. The benefit is that you can drive it around your place and find where your cat is hiding IRL, unlike static pet cams where you (and I say this from experience) can ruin a weekend away from the car because you don’t you’ve seen your cat show up for two whole days and you’re worried, but it turns out she was just sleeping in one place the whole time. With Loona, it’s not a problem.
Loona originally launched on Kickstarter securing over three million dollars in backing which, if nothing else, shows there is a lot of interest in the category. The robots are now shipping to backers with general availability on track by the end of this month on the company’s website where they will retail for $449. If you’re super keen, you can pick one up now via the IndieGoGo site for $359.
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