This Robotic Cat Is Like a Super-Advanced Furby

updated Jan 6, 2020
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The year is 2020, and your pet is a robot. Like a living cat, it moves around independently of you and becomes more used to you the more you play with it. No, it’s not soft or fluffy or alive, but on the bright side, you don’t have to pick up its poop, and living with it might help you become a better programmer.

This is MarsCat, a “bionic cat” and “home robot” currently at more than four times its funding goal on Kickstarter with more than a month left to go in its campaign.

“You will never know what MarsCat will do next because it is like a real cat, fully autonomous,” writes the cat’s creator, Elephant Robotics. “MarsCat acts independently without any instructions. MarsCat walks, runs, sleeps, sits, stretches, bites nails, kneads and even buries litter although she won’t produce any waste.”

For what sounds like a much more advanced Furby, MarsCat is not cheap. On Kickstarter, as a super early bird, you can pledge $649 for one MarsCat (or $2399 for a family of ten MarsCats, if you want to go in on it with nine of your friends). The price will go up over time, eventually reaching the planned retail price of $1,299 per cat.

So what is the point of a several-hundred-dollar robotic cat? Apart from the novelty, it seems mostly geared towards programmers as a toy or teaching tool. Its face-recognition, sensors, AI, and other features are all customizable using open-source code, which you can read way more about on Kickstarter

Right now, MarsCat comes in four colors: white, black, grey striped, and ginger striped, each with a collar in a cute, complementary shade. When you order your cat, you can also choose its eye color. 

Apart from appearance, MarsCats also have different personalities, which evolve the more you interact with them, depending on your tone of voice, frequency of movement and speech, and level of enthusiasm. “MarsCat will be more enthusiastic if you interact with her more, be more talkative if you talk to it more,” says Elephant Robotics. How can you resist a robot cat that appears to love you the more you love it?