The world has entered a new era where one’s future companion could be a robot. Comfort robots are gradually yet steadily transitioning into the roles of pets, home help, and assistants. The can even help provide alerts in dangerous situations. While some of these AI machines look similar to plush toys, others resemble realistic animals — such as cats — suggesting a whole new outlook on how a robotic companion might look and function.

MetaCat is a lifelike, interactive, and active animatronic companion. Featuring AI-powered deep learning cat motion, this robot can meow and purr like a real cat. With its movable head and tail, it responds to human touch and can also interact with people. It features fur that is soft and skin-friendly. Additionally, the cat robot has animated eyes that can execute a range of actions such as blinking, shrinking, and winking.

Social isolation has been recognized as an important social determinant of health (SDoH). It was a problem even before the COVID pandemic that threw the world into lockdown. This is especially true for the elderly living alone; having a robotic cat companion could provide a much-needed companionship and comfort. Robot pets like MetaCat could be a good solution for people who wish to have a pet but don’t have the time or ability to care for a living creature. Similarly, it is an excellent choice for those who work long hours and want their robotic cat friend to be there to greet them at the end of the day. The pet could also be gifted to children to teach them how to interact with a lifelike cat, which will be useful when they adopt their own real pet.

Although a little clunky in comparison to high-end animatronic companions, MetaCat is relatively budget-friendly and affordable at around $200.