Gadgets 21

Published on November 22nd, 2005 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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