Loona the Petbot

Bizarre Tech: Loona the PetBot, Ultrahuman Ring and ÖRing Plus

Image credit: Loona

Hello, friends! I have some fun tech to show you today. This month, we have a cute robot pet that seems too needy, and two health rings, one for your hand and one for your... ahem. Enjoy!

Loona the Petbot

Look at the little thing!

Dubbed as ‘an incredible pet who happens to be a robot’, this seems perfect for people who can’t have a floofy companion for whatever reason. I recently got myself a little rottweiler puppy – I sometimes do feel like I should have got a Loona instead. Less pee, less ruined furniture.

Then again, she’s a puppy. And I love dogs. So.

Apparently, little Loona welcomes you when you come home, and follows you around, looking all happy and stuff. Just like the real thing. Except it’s not floofy and warm and real and cute. Well, it’s cute, but not CUTE.

As well as sneezing, scratching, roaming and investigating suspicious bits and pieces, Loona also beatboxes, dances and poses for pictures.

I doubt my dog could beatbox. So, that’s a point to Loona.

The bot has a high-definition RGB camera below its face and a central processing unit: “With up to 5 Tops of computing power, Loona sees you!” Sees me and judges? Records? Who knows. The company could be collecting all the images of me being weird in my house.

Loona’s developer, robotics company KEYi Technology, says it can perform face recognition, body detection, gesture recognition, 3D motion capture, object recognition, emotion perception, label recognition and more. That’s a lot of stuff for such a small puppyesque bot.

Apparently, through its visual power, you can have lots of ‘fun interactions’ with Loona, like it running after the ball and following you.

It can also identify sound sources so if you call from behind, Loona will run to you like a wee puppy. Sweet.

It’s powered by Amazon Lex, so the wee botty can recognise and understand voice commands and ‘provide feedback while keeping your information secure’. Yeah, OK, Russia.

The team says Loona has a 3D-ToF (time-of-flight) camera that detects environmental obstacles and generates data to help ‘her’ move swiftly and navigate the environment. It can also integrate an RGB camera to capture and track moving objects. Fun. Techy.

The cutie patootie has six motors, and the wheels move with the help of two brushless servomotors. Using the legs, ears and eyes, Loona apparently has over 700 expressions. It can also stand, roll over and pop back up like a needy hound.

Loona comes with an app (naturally), which has real games such as quizzes and charades that you can play with the bot. My pets don’t have opposable thumbs so they might struggle with that sort of thing.

According to the Kickstarter campaign, Loona is fully programmable ‘with a friendly drag-and-drop graphic programming interface’, meaning kids can get involved with programming, too.

Though with so many other petbots out there, this one did disappear from Kickstarter because of a copyright challenge before popping up again a few days later. It’s not for us to judge the merits of that one. 


Ultrahuman Ring

You want to truly know yourself? Put a ring on it!

Ultrahuman Ring is apparently “the world’s most advanced metabolism-tracker”, measuring movement, sleep and the body’s stress signals.

Using biomarkers like heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, and movement, the ring provides “deep insights into your body”. The Kickstarter campaign says it’s coupled with “intelligent real-time nudges that help you take corrective measures and enhance your health”.

I don’t want no ring telling me what to do, otherwise I’d be married – BOOM BOOM! (that’s the drum beat after a joke, obvs).  

The Ultrahuman team believe in the idea of self-quantification. Alrighty then. So, the ring is supposed to “empower you through various scores that are representative of your health”. M’kay.

Apparently, it’s got a movement index to help you understand your overall energy expenditure, with a score (out of 100) based on metabolic equivalents and how much you move during the day.

It also has a sleep index so you can learn about your sleep stages and the different metabolic processes that happen depending on what part you’re in.

It comes with a recovery score so you can get an understanding of your body’s current state, which is “based on a combination of biometrics such as HRV, heart rate and body temperature throughout the day to help you understand various body signals better”. Stop spying on me, ring thing. Heart rate variability is also monitored to tell you about stress levels. The ring will ‘nudge’ you to meditation, breathing exercises and all that jazz if you feel a stressed mess.

It’s got an app, which has got “Ultrahuman’s library of premium content”, including workouts, meditations and sleep stories “through the world’s best trainers, coaches and psychologists”. Sounds expensive.

The Ultrahuman Ring comes in lots of colours: Cyber Grey, Bionic Gold, Aster Black, Space Silver. Ooooh, ahhhh. Shiny.

You can pre-order it for $299 (about £259).


ÖRing Plus

Sorry in advance.

Now, this is another kind of ring, to monitor your health in a... sexy way? ÖRing Plus, designed for “couples, singles, friends with benefits, long-distance relationships, and anybody looking to ‘Netflix and Chill’”.Wahey!

Apparently, it’s much more than a sex toy, using your biometrics and a motion tracker to “calculate heart rate, SpO2, speed, duration and more” using the accompanying app. Do you want to know all of this? Well, if you do, then get one of these.

It’s a vibration device that goes on the ahem... peen... that also apparently eases stress during sex and tracks all the good stuff that goes on with your body while you’re doing the deed.

Sorry, I’m trying to be as professional as I can. I’m not going to go into detail about how it keeps you “stronger for longer”, but let’s just say it has something to do with stretchable silicone and restricted blood flow.

It’s also for the ladies, with a curved design and varying vibration pattern. That’s all I’m going to say.

It’s got three modes: basic, wave and crane (high-intensity jolts), and you can even create your own patterns with the app.


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