The pet industry has been boosted in recent years, as the spiritual need for pet companionship has become more prominent in China. The pet consumption market was only $33.7 billion in 2012. According to the 2022 China Pet Industry White Paper, China's pet consumption market reached 249 billion yuan ten years later. From 2012 to 2022, the compound annual growth rate is 24.88 percent.
A growing number of innovative pet gadgets have hit the market, including Enabot's Ebo, a smart robot companion. The spheroid robot has a cute appearance, with a small display screen that can be interpreted as the bot's facial expression, displaying hearts, circles, and other icons.
Ebo is the size of a mug, making it easy to hide under tables, cabinets, and in corners. Despite its diminutive size, the robot is packed with features like ergonomic wheels that can spin, dance, and climb short obstacles like carpet edges, laser pointers for cats to play with, a wide-angle camera, speaker, 256G storage for video files, WiFi for owners to remotely monitor and engage with pets, and auto self-return to charging dock. According to the user manual, the bot takes 2-3 hours to fully charge and has a 2-6-hour battery life.
The Enabot mobile app allows you to control the bot's movements such as dancing, dash, and roaming, save screenshots and video snippets from live recordings, edit photos to share on social media, and schedule play sessions, among other things. Multiple users can connect to the same Ebo device using Enabot's app, allowing all family members to monitor and interact with the pet.
The robot's tracking function can detect moving objects such as pets or humans and follow them around, providing a fun way to keep pets occupied, if not irritate them. We've found the tracking option to be insensitive in practice. The Ebo Air was successful in detecting and following humans, but it was unsuccessful in detecting and following a long-haired cat, possibly due to the cat's inconsistent movements or the cat's long hair obscuring its shape, making it difficult to identify.
Ebo Air can provide peace of mind to pet owners who have misbehaving pets. In our testing, the robot’s movement is smooth, and response time is fast. No significant delays have been spotted with the bot’s remote functions. Additionally, the bot can go as slow as 7.5 centimeters per second to 75 centimeters per second, while staying relatively silent, thanks to its rubber wheels. The silentness makes Ebo Air less likely to startle pets, unlike vacuums robots. The wheels can also be taken apart for cleaning if it gets stuck by pet hairs.
Although the laser function was successful in attracting the cat's attention, the cat appears to be more interested in the robot than in the laser.
The robot's nimbleness in terms of height is limited, especially given its size. Ebo Air is only capable of overcoming obstacles that are a few millimeters tall, such as thin carpets and strewn papers or magazines on the floor. Ebo Air would be stopped in its tracks by most door sills, so it would be best used in an open floor setting. On its way back to the charging dock, the bot would occasionally become stuck.
The Ebo Air has a number of functional improvements over its previous version, which was released on Kickstarter in 2019. The previous generation of Ebo, for example, only supported a 2.4GHz WiFi connection, resulting in frequent lag when transmitting orders remotely.
Overall, the Ebo Air is a nice addition to families with pets. Owners can check in on their pets when they are away, and pets can stay entertained when they are left alone. Of course, the bot is no substitute for services such as pet daycare, and is not applicable in situations which owners would leave for long periods of time, given its battery life. Still, its novelty, various functions, and stableness make it worthwhile.