There haven’t been many robot crowdfunding campaigns more successful than Buddy the companion robot, which raised $617,131 from 1,050 backers on Indiegogo.
Now the company behind Buddy, Blue Frog Robotics, is thanking its supporters by giving Buddy the ability to see the world in 3D and new expressions that enable richer interaction to make him an ever closer part of the family.
Buddy will now come equipped with a a three-lense camera (a conventional camera, an IR camera and an IR laser projector) that will allow him to more easily track your movements and gauge the depths of any objects in his line of sight.
With the 3D vision, Buddy will be able to interpret hand, arm and head movements without any physical contact and distinguish between an object, a face, animal or plant.
Here are some pictures of Buddy’s first test with a 3D camera:
Now that Buddy can better interpret its environment, he’ll also be able to react accordingly as he’s been given more expressions to better interact with you and your family. Buddy will naturally express his full range of emotions or you could tell him to give a specific reaction: happy, grumpy, angry, sad, sick, timid, and many others.
His teeth will chatter if it’s too cold, and he might get angry if the Wi-Fi connection is slow. He’ll even get grumpy in the morning if nobody interacts with him or he might get sick and need some TLC.
Buddy is just under 2 feet tall and weighs about 8 pounds. It can run for 8 to 10 hours on a battery charge and includes obstacle detectors, multimedia outputs, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can log into Buddy and control him remotely via an iOS, Android or Windows app.
The early bird developer edition is expected to ship late 2015 – early 2016.