It’s been quite a two-week stretch for Blue Frog Robotics. It launched an Indiegogo campaign on July 7 for Buddy, which is an open-source companion robot that connects, protects, and interacts with each member of your family. And in 14 days the campaign is 238 percent funded, surpassing the original $100,000 by raising $237,978, at press time.
The company is turning to you, however, to help make Buddy more intelligent by giving him new skills, content, and features. Blue Frog Robotics says its goal is to “democratize the field of robotics,” which is why it built Buddy on an open-source platform.
Today the company revealed details of its software development kit (SDK) and developer program to build apps for Buddy, which can run in the Android and Windows environments. It is compatible popular development tools, such as Unity 3D, Arduino and OpenCV.
Photos: Meet Buddy the Companion Robot
The Buddy SDK will include:
- A visual programming tool based on Unity 3D, a cross-platform development engine used by more than one million game developers
- Advanced tools to create new libraries
- A library of animations, sounds and vocalizations
- A text-to-speech tool for Buddy’s voice
- A virtual simulator that lets developers create and observe more basic animations, timelines and behaviors without a robot
By adding your applications, Buddy will grow and interact with you more and more. Buddy comes pre-loaded with the technological building blocks – navigation, sensors, and recognition – giving you the tools to push the limits of your imagination.
Those who purchase the Buddy Developer Edition ($749) will be enrolled in the developer program, which includes the SDK, technical support, and access to a global community of developers. The early bird developer edition is expected to ship late 2015 – early 2016.
“Developers around the world can help us make Buddy more intelligent and useful by giving him new skills, content and features,” said Rodolphe Hasselvander, Blue Frog Robotics co-founder and CEO. “Buddy was purposely built to be compatible with popular development tools to allow as many developers as possible to collaborate with us.”
A Closer Look at Buddy
Buddy is the first robot to use the Unity 3D integrated development environment, which is used in smartphone applications and video games. Buddy can help teach children basic programming concepts, serve as a personal assistant, patrol the home.
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.
You can use Buddy to suggest recipes in the kitchen and take advantage of its voice-recognition, text-to-speech, and telepresence capabilities. Buddy also has three wheels but no arms initially, and it has a camera and infrared sensors.
The modular robot has an expressive face on its touchscreen and facial recognition ability. Buddy supports French and English, and support for other languages can be downloaded.