Pennsylvania Patent of the Month – January 2024

Petoi, LLC, previously known as OpenCat, has made a name for themselves by supplying the world with robotic companions. The company started their journey with a crowdfunding campaign for their first open-source robotic pet project – a robot cat. The company has grown, expanding their offering to cover a range of not-so-furry companions. But robotic pets aren’t made without a serious commitment to research and development. The company has recently been granted a patent for their legged robot technology.

The patent outlines a system that promises to redefine the landscape of legged robots and their control mechanisms. The choice to use legged-robots as opposed to wheeled-robots supports the robot as they traverse a range of terrain.

At its core, the mobile robot boasts a sophisticated design, featuring a frame equipped with a set of legs, each driven by a motor with a unique motor arm and spring system. The brilliance lies in the utilization of a spring attachment point, motor arm, and a track within the leg. This combination enables a controlled and efficient range of motion, orchestrated by a central control system that navigates the robot’s movement.

The distal end of each leg is a masterpiece in itself. A foot member, paw, and an integrated sensor within the paw form a sensor system that enhances the robot’s interaction with its environment. The sensor, a force sensor, is strategically positioned to capture data that informs the control system, allowing the robot to adapt and respond to external stimuli intelligently.

The mobile robot’s construction extends to its head, equipped with distance sensors that contribute to its spatial awareness. Additionally, a tail, with its own set of motors, complements the overall balance and agility of the robot. The ingenuity behind the front and back legs, each coupled with dedicated motors and springs, ensures a harmonized and stable quadrupedal motion.

One of the standout features is the incorporation of a multi-controller system. This system, comprising a first controller for sensor data and a second controller for motion patterns, allows for intricate and responsive control over the robot’s movements. The inclusion of facial recognition capabilities, which evolve over time, adds a layer of sophistication to the robot’s interactions.

The frame of the robot incorporates conductive touch pads, offering an additional dimension of control and interaction. The use of ribs with touch pads, electrically coupled to touch sensors, exemplifies the meticulous design considerations.

Petoi’s bionic robot pets are highly programmable, built atop Arduino and can be extended with popular open source hardware like Raspberry Pi. When you take on one of these companions, you get to build them and program them yourselves – supporting kids and adults alike as they learn the basics of robotic engineering – from mechanics to controls.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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