This bionic robot dog makes a great pet for STEM enthusiasts

Bittle, the mini robot pup, is a hands-on STEM lesson packaged in a cute handheld gadget that you can control wirelessly.

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May 31, 2022 10:56 AM
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A programmer uses the Petoi mobile app to control their Bittle on a desk

Owning a pet may be one of life’s most rewarding treasures, but there’s no denying it’s hard work. Animals need to be fed, comforted, exercised — the list goes on. However, there are alternatives to adopting your typical furry friend. One example is Petoi’s range of robotic pets, which only require a bit of coding knowledge to bring to life. The company’s latest dog model offers an excellent way to engage you and your children’s STEM skills, and it might just deflect their requests for a real-life one.

Welcome Bittle, the palm-sized robot dog, into your home for hours of educational entertainment. Feeling crafty? You can get the base construction kit for $299. Pre-assembled versions are also on sale for just $10 more, making an excellent gift for kids who aren’t ready to dive into building. Appropriate for ages 14 and up (and younger children with parental supervision), this four-legged automaton delivers a cute way to improve your programming skills.

Whether you have some programming experience or are learning as you go, Petoi offers numerous ways to bring Bittle to life. Successfully funded on Kickstarter, the kit comes with a customized Arduino board that coordinates all of the bionic dog’s movements. It’s also open-source, so you can teach it skills by installing Raspberry Pi or other AI chips and using Scratch, C++ and Python.

Once you’ve built your Bittle, you can control it through the Petoi desktop and mobile apps. Unlike many bionic devices, this pup features legs instead of wheels, so it can navigate on rough terrain without stumbling. You can even program your digital dog to perform tricks and walk around for up to one hour per charge, thanks to its lithium-ion battery.

You can purchase the Petoi Bittle Palm-Sized Robot Dog base construction kit for $299 or buy it pre-assembled for $309.

Prices subject to change.

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