“Bionic Cat” Is the Pet of the Future

Chinese technology firm, Elephant Robotics, developed MarsCat, which is billed as the world’s first bionic cat.

Chinese technology firm, Elephant Robotics has developed MarsCat, which is billed as the world’s first bionic pet cat.

The fully autonomous cat is both a home robot and robotic pet that can feel touch, hear sounds, recognize faces, and play with toys—as well as real cats. Much like an actual cat, MarsCat is very independent and can stretch, sit, knead, and even bury litter without commands. It also reacts to the world around it, and can express emotion through different types of meows.

The company says MarsCat can recognize 20 specific commands including “come” and “sit.” Each one is unique from its physical characteristics, to its personality. There are 4 coat colors to choose from, and 6 personalities including aloof, enthusiastic, energetic, lazy, social, or shy.

The MarsCat’s personality also develops as the owner interacts with it—every time it’s touched, talked to, or looked at, the owner changes its personality. The robot is easily programmable using an open API and its Raspberry Pi to alter the movements of its 16 motorized joints, or change its eye color, and sound effects.

The concept for the bionic cat was first created in August 2018 and has since gone through rigorous testing. Five generations of prototypes were created before launching on Kickstarter.

The MarsCat will reportedly cost $1,299 when it goes on sale to the public next year. Each box will come with toys for the kitten and different swag for the new owner.

The company hopes that MarsCat will usher in a new era of automation and intelligence, bringing robots into everyone's homes around the world.