,or When aliens mate with aibo
a robot by Mark Tilden
Robopet is the perfect fusion of technology and personality. He “comes alive” with a combination of user-controlled movements and autonomous, free-roaming behaviors, some of them naughty and some of them nice. And, at seven inches, he’s the perfect interactive pet to take anywhere!
A few days ago I found Robopet while walking down the toy section in a nearby mall (don´t raise your eyebrows. Since we are approaching Christmas the toy section has taken over the entire place. Anyway, I was searching for toys for my little nephew. For when I have one, that is). That first contact was kinda tepid: flanked by a bunch of huge Roboraptors, the much smaller robopets didn´t really stand out very well on the shelves. However, I decided long ago that Roboraptor is too expensive for my
budget nephew, so I took a box with one robopet and looked at it carefully. Now, after some time, several reviews read and a few videos watched, I still look at it with the same “what the …?” expression. I like robots very much, and robopet seems to feature some of the things that made aibo so interesting for a fraction of the price: it moves smoothly, has several well thought interactions, runs on batteries (I wonder how long they last), and can either be autonomous (to impress oneself) or remote controlled (to impress oneself´s friends). However, it seems that for some reason I can´t get accustomed to the way it looks. Quoting a PC Magazine Article describing the robot, “Robopet is, more accurately, a skeletal representation of a small Chihuahua’s physical anatomy, especially in the legs, which have been engineered to realistically interpret the bones and tendons of a dog”. Well, I don´t know if I´ll buy the robot, but of one thing I´m sure: chihuahuas will never look the same to me. 😛