“Above all, I love cats. I admire their elegant body structures and agile movements,” Rongzhong Li tells me via email when asked why he chose a cat instead of something easier to recreate as a robot. Li is an assistant professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and creator of open source robotic cat OpenCat.
After his robot was featured on IEEE Spectrum’s fantastic weekly roundup of robot videos, he tells me his email has been flooded with possibilities for the future development of his “sophisticated personal artwork,” as he labels it.
OpenCat didn’t start out as a cat, Li writes. “My initial project was a pan/tilt camera for Raspberry Pi. With two infrared lights besides the camera, it looks like the face of a cat. Soon the rest of a cat‘s body popped up in my mind and started to patrol. I felt urged to pull it out to the reality,” he says, adding that he didn’t sleep well for a year – until he finally managed to make it walk.
There is another, even better, reason he chose to build a cat. “They look mysterious and philosophical, yet will do a lot of hilarious things. It’s like the status of today’s AI technology. I don’t have to ensure the robot humbly responds to human instructions every time. People may think, ‘Well… she hears me but just doesn’t care. Like my cat.’” So smart.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.