OffBeat

Wii-controlled robot pets cat in YouTube video; Internet’s head explodes

And now for something completely different: Here’s a video of a robot brushing a cat.

The bot, a Nao model hacked by clever software developer Taylor Veltrop, is controlled with a Nintendo Wiimote, a Microsoft Kinect, a head-mounted display and a treadmill. The setup is perfect for that special someone in your life who loves animals but is constantly stymied by crippling pet dander allergies.

Veltrop’s video shows three views: his, the view from the Kinect and the view of a third party watching the cat/bot exchange.

We’ve had a Nao bot in our offices before, and these guys are adorable and quite hackable, too.

In the recent past, Veltrop has hacked his non-Nao “Veltrobot” + Kinect setup to do pushups and wield a knife.

Nao robots were designed by Aldebaran Robotics, a French company. Each Nao unit costs around $15,000 and is just shy of two feet tall at 57 centimeters. The bots walk upright and have toddler-like ranges of motion. But being outfitted with an array of sensors, the Nao-bot can navigate a room, track objects and respond to people and faces.

The Nao robots can be loaded with applications, programmed to send status updates or hacked to do any number of tricks, such as pet-brushing.