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One of the best things about technology today is that there are so many entertaining ways for kids and adults to advance their STEM skills. And what's more fun than improving your programming skills by building your own palm-sized bionic robot dog with the Petoi Bittle: Palm-Sized Robot Dog?
You'll love watching it play like a real dog, moving around on four legs instead of wheels. The legged motion allows it to have more freedom while navigating unstructured terrain. There are Petoi apps for desktop and mobile to configure the robot, and you can control it via Bluetooth with a wireless remote. The battery runs for about an hour of nonstop walking.
Not only can you learn coding as you program and customize your pet to bring it to life, but the skills you develop have valuable potential for future applications. They are the basis for advanced innovative locomotive robot gaits and kinematics behaviors in research.
Successfully funded on Kickstarter, Bittle was created on OpenCat, an open-source project specifically for quadruped robots. But it is highly programmable using Python, C++, and Scratch. You can also clip on a variety of sensors to the customized Arduino board that coordinates the sophisticated, instinctive movements. Or you can add AI capabilities with Raspberry Pi and other chips using wired or wireless connections.
The system consists of five components: the frame, battery, electronics, actuator, and software. And though Bittle is actually suitable for adults as well as children over 14 years old, younger kids can certainly have fun playing with Bittle under adult supervision.