Published on November 22nd, 2005 | by Greg0
New Robodog, Old Tricks
It scares children. It looks like a bizarre, almost-Cronenberg creation. It can serve as a robotic guardian.
It’s Robopet, one of the latest incarnations of the excellent robo-series by WowWee (makers of Robosapien). It can roll over and sit up, which is pretty spellbinding to watch, and it can respond to a variety of commands (movement, encouragement, punishment). It can’t really jump- the commercial is a little suspicious in it’s editing- but can detect edges pretty well. Don’t try to use it on carpet, and remember to turn it off- it can tear through batteries quickly.
So, what’s it like? Well, our reviewer found the “training” mode to be mostly silly, and the remote control to be in need of a redesign- better labelling and a nicer form would make it more fun to use. The dog can’t really respond to commands either, which is too bad- it will hear a limited number of sounds though.
Our main concern is that the dog isn’t “cuddly”- a few kids we asked to play with it were more than a bit put-off by it’s strangely skeletal appearance. Robosapien succeeded by not only being technologically sophisticated, but by looking fun- there is no doubt that Robopet’s movements are incredible, but Robopet isn’t friendly enough for us to recommend heartily. There’s a mini version and a “signature” version which vary in price, but the basic 7-inch model we tried runs around $80. Sure, it’s much cheaper than a real dog, but so is a Nintendog or a Chia pet. The original Robosapien is great, and word is that a new model is coming soon- until a newer Robopet is available, we suggest sticking with them.