We here at the BBC have become unhealthily obsessed with a new toy. Or, rather, an old toy. This little guy had been hiding out in the BBC storage vaults for a decade or so, and it is high time to bring him out to play.
The RoboPet is puportedly an autonomous robotic dog, and given the limitations of the technology (and price point — this is a toy) of the day, it comes amazingly close. But if it’s going to become a full-fledged autonomous member of our cabal, then it needs to come much closer. And we’re going to help it reach this next level of evolution.
We already have a good start: we have inserted a small computer between its infrared receiver and its existing microcontroller, so we can embed programs into it that can do anything that can be done through the remote control. Ultimately, this isn’t good enough, but it will do for now.
You can find all the gory details of what we’ve learned and done over here. There is probably enough information there that you can replicate our efforts. We even have software!