BUCKY is a pet soccer ball!
Note to self: here is an earlier version: 20070622 bucky.txt
He is exactly the size and shape of a standard soccer ball. In fact,
the entire mechanism is actually embedded in a *real* soccer ball. If
we build him strong enough, you could even play soccer with him!
Except that he has a computer inside, with a mechanism which allows him
to roll around under his own power, and a speaker and mike, which
allows him to listen to whistled
commands and speak!
Mechanically speaking, Bucky is VERY simple to manufacture, compared to
most robots. The mechanism to just "roll around" is far simpler than
almost any other "robot" toy.
We can then concentrate on his "intelligence" and
behaviors. That is what will make him special.
You command him with a five note whistle! These come in several pitch
ranges, including one that is too high for humans to hear! Or you can
whistle yourself! "Melodies" will be recognized no matter what the
absolute pitch, so you can "whistle a tune" to command Bucky!
Bucky can do Tricks!
--- Bucky's software modules are known as "Tricks"!
--- Bucky can do many tricks right "out of the box".
--- More tricks can be downloaded. Bucky can connect via wifi or
bluetooth and has
his own IP address!
--- You can command Bucky and set his parameters etc
via his website!
--- Advanced programmers can program him through our
--- He can listen thru his mike and speak through his built-in speaker.
--- You command him with a 5 note whistle or numerous styles of similar
devices. Different "tunes" invoke
--- He can "bark" at strangers. (Send him to the front door and he can
recognize any unusual sound and bark at it!)
(And since he is internet
connected, he can also email and sms etc).
--- You can have him stand guard anywhere. If he hears any unusual
sound, he starts barking at it!
Set him in your room and
have him notify you (via barking, the web, email or text msg etc) if
--- He can follow you around. Just keep tooting and he'll follow the
--- He can play music. He IS an mp3 player!
--- He can play games with kids. He can lead them in Simon Says.
--- He can tell stories. He can stop and ask questions, which are
answered by whistle toots!
He can ask: "Would you like to
hear a story?"
One toot is yes, another
is no. Stories could have lots of multiple
choice points too (eg, there are five notes on the whistle).
--- He can teach kids to count. Bucky says "Give me five!" and the kid
must toot five times on any note.
--- He can lead you in calisthenics! He is an aerobics instructor!
He says "drop down and give
me 50!" and then by listening determine when you do
And he counts you down
aloud! "That's 1, that's 2, ..." After a very long pause in your
action, he can say "Come on now, you can do it!".
--- He can lead you in songs!
--- Kids can drive Bucky around the room, one toot to go forward,
to stop, turn right, turn left, etc.
--- He can memorize motions from known starting points, eg, you can
guide him along a path from one place to another (such as rooms in your
he will remember it. He can then build up an internal map of the
house and figure out how to get from anywhere to anywhere!
--- He rolls himself into his own little house for recharging.
--- He can handle time, tell you what time it is, and do things (any
trick that he can do) at any specified time.
--- He can roll into your bedroom in the
wake you up!
--- In a store, he can lead you to the correct isle for the product you
The thought is this: a pet soccer ball will be loved by kids. It is
mechanically easy to manufacture and robost from damage and cheap to
produce. Then our company can concentrate on his behaviours and
"intelligence". Eventually he might even get speech recognition (no
additional hardware needed).