Cute companion robot transforms desktops into interactive learning labs

Doly AI-Powered Companion Robot
Limibit's founder, Levent Erenler, highlights Doly's unique blend of robotics, AI, and companionship as setting a new benchmark in the industry. Images courtesy Limibit

In an era where technology and companionship intersect, Limitbit, a technology startup based in Ontario, Canada, has introduced a novel concept through Kickstarter. Their latest creation, Doly, is not just a desktop companion robot but a multi-faceted educational tool designed to inspire future roboticists. This AI-powered buddy bot combines the joy of companionship with the thrill of technological innovation, aimed at capturing both hearts and minds.

Limitbit’s founder, Levent Erenler, envisions Doly as a blend of companionship, education, and innovation. The robot’s design features include googly eyes that not only display charming emoji-like animations but can also show practical information like weather reports or function as a digital clock.

Doly’s personality is not static; it evolves through interactions, reflecting its design philosophy of growth and learning. With its mobility enabled by tank treads, and arms equipped with multi-color LEDs and magnetic mounts for attaching accessories, Doly is designed to engage and entertain.

At the heart of Doly lies a Raspberry Pi CM4, offering robust processing capabilities on a Linux-based operating platform. Its open-source nature encourages users of all ages and skill levels to customize and enhance their Doly experience. Whether it’s upgrading RAM or swapping Compute Modules, the companion robot is a playground for tinkerers.

Doly Companion Robot Charging Dock
Doly features an auto-charging dock and edge sensors to prevent falls, ensuring it stays powered and safe on tabletops.

Doly’s interactive features include a speech recognition system that facilitates natural language commands, 2-W stereo speakers for a variety of vocal responses, and an 8-megapixel camera for capturing moments or offering a first-person view of the robot’s explorations. The integration of capacitive touch sensors adds a layer of interactivity, allowing Doly to respond to physical gestures with appropriate eye animations.

Doly Companion Robot Programming Blocky Platform
Google’s Blockly platform offers a foundation for learning programming basics.

For those looking to delve deeper into robotics and coding, Doly provides a rich platform. It supports a range of programming interfaces from a Blockly-based interface for beginners to more advanced languages like C++ and Python for seasoned developers. The inclusion of a Software Development Kit (SDK) offers access to a wealth of data and controls, further extending the robot’s capabilities.

Doly Companion Robot Onboard Camera
With its built-in camera, users have the ability to view the world through Doly’s perspective.

Connectivity is another of Doly’s strong suits, with Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi ensuring seamless interaction with other devices and the internet. Its design includes a range of sensors for navigation and safety, including proximity sensors and ToF sensors for obstacle avoidance. The robot’s autonomy is supported by a 2,600-mAh battery, complemented by a smart charging unit that Doly can independently locate and use.

Doly Companion Robot 3D-Print Custom Parts
Doly features several I/O ports for expansion and supports custom 3D-printed parts to enhance its functions.

Limitbit has also committed to enhancing Doly’s features over time, with promises of subscription-free lifetime updates and exciting plans for ChatGPT integration. This future update aims to expand Doly’s interactive capabilities, potentially transforming how users engage with their robotic companion.

Doly Companion Robot Touch Sensors
Doly’s integrated sensors enable it to respond to touch.

Originally launched on Kickstarter in 2022, Doly’s design was refined based on backer feedback, leading to the current, more advanced version. With a starting pledge level of US$269, the campaign highlights the usual risks associated with crowdfunding but also the potential for a unique, interactive companion. Limitbit anticipates starting shipping by August, following a successful funding round.

Doly Companion Robot Weather Info
The ‘eyes’ not only animate expressions but can also show information like weather updates.

Source: Limitbit