Moflin, a fluffy AI robot that develops its own personality, is just the kind of pet for those who don’t want the hassle and responsibility of a living, breathing creature in their home. The Japanese-made Moflin, which started through a Kickstarter that has far surpassed its original goal, is expected to make an appearance at the virtual CES taking place from January 6-9. The Moflin is adorable, soft, and looks sort of like Star Trek’s Tribbles.
The Tribbles, which debuted in the second season of the original Star Trek series, were a species of furry, slow-moving creatures that, according to Dr. McCoy, had only two purposes in life: eating and reproducing. The creatures would rapidly reproduce, leading to rooms full of the weird creatures in a short amount of time. The Tribbles looked like little more than small balls of fur, with no discernible features. However, the Tribbles could make cooing and squeaking noises, which made them a cheesy favorite of Star Trek fans.
Unlike the Tribbles, Moflin don’t require food and don’t reproduce – supposedly – but it does continue to learn and grow by determining patterns and exploring its surroundings using sensors. The Kickstarter page states that the Moflin has an infinite number of mobile and sound pattern combinations, which allow the creatures to express their feelings and respond to its owners.
According to a description of Moflin’s Emotion AI Technology, the creature can feel such emotions as happy, stressed, sad, calm, and lethargic, amongst others. It can move among its emotional spectrum and can have any personality. The Moflin will also evolve over time, will acclimate itself to different people, and gets attached to its owners. Take that, Tribbles!
Unlike the Tribbles though, the Moflin does have to be charged. This is done through an equally adorable charger that looks as though the Moflin is sleeping in an egg-shaped container. When the Moflin is sleeping and charging, it will continue to make sounds and will have small reactions to its surroundings still.
The specifications give us a better idea of what to expect from the Moflin. There are two moving parts in the neck that allows for bending and rotation, and there is a speaker hidden somewhere amongst all that fluff. The Moflin also has a touch sensor, a microphone, and communicates through Bluetooth. The Moflin weighs about two-thirds of a pound and is slightly longer than six inches. Plus, it has two eyes, which automatically makes it easier to appreciate as a pet than Tribbles.
Vanguard Industries Inc., who make the Moflin, had an original Kickstarter goal of 2 million yen, yet as of right now, the project has reached over 64 million yen pledged from 1,396 backers. While it’s not clear when the Moflin will be available to consumers, the team’s original roadmap included plans to start initial mass production in 2020, with initial delivery expected for 2021. Although the Moflin expected to appear as CES over the next few days, it’s possible there could be an update on its progression. As for the team behind Star Trek merch, it’s time to start working on Tribbles to compete with the Moflin’s cuteness!