One of the hottest chatbots in town right now is an online kitten. It’s not the first feline-themed bot to hit the Internet, but it may be the most entertaining. Designed by Dutch web developer Tom van Dijke, CatGPT is an artificial intelligence that answers any question you might have with an increasingly insistent meow. Van Dijke says it took some work to get the site up and running, but once he had the basics down he was inspired to take things further. “What if ChatGPT was a cat?” he wondered. That’s how cat bot was born.
As you might have guessed, a lot of people love cats. They’re a favorite of meme creators and have even become a popular form of social media currency. They’re also the inspiration for a number of robots, including a cat-shaped device that ferrys plates of food to restaurant patrons.
This table-waiting robot, called Bellabot, was shown off this week at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. It’s built by Chinese company PuduTech and is one of a number of wacky inventions at the event, including UBTech’s Walker, which can pull yoga poses, and Charmin’s RollBot, which speeds up rolls of toilet paper in bathrooms that have run out.
Another example of a cat-themed robot is Xiake, a 48lb drum spinner built by Martin Mason for the second season of BattleBots on ABC. Despite losing its first match to Iron Scrap, the robot managed to qualify for the main tournament by winning its next two fights. In its third battle, it fought the full-body drum spinner of Axe Backwards and successfully immobilized the machine by clamping its wheel.
In addition to its impressive technical capabilities, Xiake has a fun, whimsical appearance. The robot is shaped like a calico with black and white stripes, red eyes and ears and an orange nose. It also features a front wedge that opens and closes to reveal drive modules.
The Xiake team’s latest bot, dubbed WAR Hawk, will compete in the sixth modern season of BattleBots under the ownership of Western Allied Robotics. It fought a pair of spinners in its first two battles and defeated both, notably beating the full-body drum spinner of Axe Forwards and the more agile Saw Blaze before its wheels were torn off. In its final match, the robot was unable to lift a flipped Xiake off the ground and was disqualified.