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Nybble – World’s Cutest Open Source Robotic Kitten

Who is Nybble? 

Nybble is not only a robotic cat that walks, it’s a new type of pet – an advanced robotic kitten that YOU bring to life with a small computer, customizable software, a basic components kit, and whatever upgrades you can imagine!

Nybble’s motion is driven by an Arduino compatible micro-controller. It stores instinctive “muscle memory” to move around. An optional AI chip, such as Raspberry Pi can be mounted on top of Nybble’s back, to help Nybble with perception and decision. You can program in your favorite language, and direct Nybble walk around simply by sending short commands, such as “walk” or “turn left”!

How does Nybble work?

3D puzzle frame

Nybble’s frame is an easily assemble-able puzzle. The wooden frame is a retro design in honor of its popstick framed ancestor. The wisdom of traditional Chinese woodwork was borrowed to make the major frame screw-free. Detailed assembling instructions will be available. Or…challenge yourself and try to solve the puzzle on your own!

 

NyBoard

We have designed an all-in-one controller we call the NyBoard V0 to ease the wiring and future development. Besides the ATmega328P chip (the same one on Arduino Uno), we used a faster crystal and added external EEPROM for storing more instincts. It has on-board power management with tunable output, various communication and controlling ports, and an optimized layout.

 

We pushed the layout precision to 0.25mm, to fit the geometry not only for Nybble, but also for Raspberry Pi and your favorite extension boards. It was designed to avoid all the tall components on Pi that may conflict with installation. Its 2×5 communication socket accepts the pins on Pi. It powers Pi, listens to Pi, and there’s a jumper switch for changing I2C master. If you have another preferred chip to ATmega328P, just take full control of the board! The on-board chip can still watch the battery level for you. The blue chip has to be soldered based on your favorite orientation. We’ll be offering variables in our detailed instructions.

You do need to design a mount if the optional screw holes don’t match your board. By attaching a Pi or other AI chips, you will be able to add more talents to Nybble, make it listen, see, and think.

Joint tuner

Nybble is adorable, but it’s still a precise instrument. To make it walk, it takes patience and precision. To help you through the challenges, we also include a nice gadget, the “L” tuner for calibrating your Nybble at times. Just turn Nybble to calibration mode and align the observation windows, type proper calibrations and Nybble will remember them at once.

Learn programming with Nybble

After assembling Nybble, some entry level computer skills are required to upload the code and tune Nybble to walking order. You’ll need a little willingness to learn and teach it new tricks! 

The bigger picture behind Nybble

Over the 2.5 years’ evolution of OpenCat, a rough framework is becoming clearer. It started from a Raspberry Pi kit, introduced an Arduino as the central pattern generator, and will accept any extensions that’s needed. As long as you have a precise and powerful actuator, you can scale Nybble up to a dog, a horse, or even an elephant!

Who is Nybble for?

Nybble is for everyone!  If you like graceful cats, tiny computers, hackable software, customizable models, or connecting with new friends around the world, back this project!

If you’re flying solo and just want to enjoy making Nybble yours, you can hack, reprogram, paint, decorate and pose your Nybble in any way you can imagine.  If you’re looking for a fun and meaningful group project for your family or classroom, this tiny kitten brings out the best in people, unlocking curiosity and joy.

We know that with Nybble, we can break the barrier between those million dollar quadruped robots and individual makers. Nybble will also be less intimidating to kids who want to learn about robotics, programming, and making in general.

Impressed with Boston Dynamics robots? Why not try Nybble first?

What’s next?

Nybble is a small step that an individual maker takes to overcome obstacles and bring his creation to the world. Nybble is also a bridge to fuse cool technologies, and connect the developers around it. Your support will define Nybble’s future!

Source: Indiegogo