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 advanced API.
--- 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 different tricks.
--- 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 anyone enters.
--- He can follow you around. Just keep tooting and he'll follow the sound!
--- 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 each rep!
        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, another 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 house) and 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 morning and wake you up!
--- In a store, he can lead you to the correct isle for the product you want!


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).

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