Here is our review of the Bittle Open-source Bionic Robot Dog from Petoi.
Small but agile, Bittle is a powerful robot that can be programmed to walk, do tricks and roll around just like a real dog. Bittle is operated in OpenCat, an open-sourced quadrupled robot platform that offers endless programming and customisation possibilities and can be controlled using an app that’s compatible with iOS and Android.
Users bring Bittle to life by assembling its puzzle-like frame which is made up of 3D interlocking components, eliminating the need for screws (it’s also available pre-assembled). The bionic construction of legs rather than wheels means that Bittle is able to move more freely over unstructured terrain.
Evolving with an open-source gene, Bittle is built on Petoi’s OpenCat open-source platform specifically for quadrupled robots. Bittle’s dynamic manoeuvrability and behaviours are features typically seen on luxury robots but Petoi’s technology is now making it accessible to more consumers. With a customised Arduino board coordinating all instinctive and sophisticated movements, users are able to clip various smart sensors onto Bittle or mount a Raspberry Pi or other AI chips through wired/wireless connections to inject perception and artificial intelligence capabilities. Bittle can be configured and controlled using Petoi’s official mobile app.
What’s in the box?
The box contains everything you need to build, control and program Bittle.
Building Bittle takes a while, you need to not only put all the pieces together you need to program it as well.
I’ve always wanted a robot dog ever since I first saw K-9 in Doctor Who, so now was my chance to finally get my hands on one.
I chose the build it yourself kit as I thought it would be more fun. And it was, but it was also a lot of work, was quite fiddly at times, and the instructions were not as clear as I would have liked (they are web based, along with a YouTube video rather than anything in the box). For the most part they work very well, however there were times where I had to keep replaying the same few seconds over and over again to try and figure out what they were trying to show. But I got there in the end, and there was a real sense of accomplishment when I did it. For someone who likes building things or playing with electronics, this will be something that really peaks their interest.
You also need to install some software on your computer in order to upload commands and firmware to Bittle. This is a fairly straightforward process but can take some time.
Then the fun really begins – you can program Bittle to do all sorts of things, the possibilities are endless. There is also a remote control you can use to control Bittle or an app on your smartphone. This is a really good opportunity to learn coding in a fun and fairly straightforward way.
The battery, when fully charged lasts about an hour, so keep that in mind.
Bittle is available now from Amazon priced around £299.99 for the kit you put together yourself, or £309.99 for a pre-assembled kit and is aimed at ages 14 years and up and is a really great introduction into electronics and robotics and Bittle also comes in three different colours. There are also additional components that you can buy and fit, including a camera module.