I've always wanted a pet dinosaur. When I was a kid I was mad about them, I mean how cool was it that these giant dragon like monsters used to wander around the world fighting each other? Of course it's impossible to have a pet dinosaur, given that they're all extinct and that I live in an apartment, so my desire for non-human companionship has shifted in recent years to wanting a robot. Whether it's a robotic vacum or a robotic dog, I've been wanting one. Now thanks to the guy who brought us Furby I can have a robot dinosaur [wm]. There's been robot dinosaurs before. Most Toys 'R' Us have remote controlled dinos on their shelves these days, but they're just like remote controlled cars except with legs and tiny little useless arms.
Pleo, the robot dinosaur that's going to be arriving this year, is the first really decent attempt to fit an artificial intelligence into one of these. Designed more as a pet than a gadget it goes through phases of it's life, learning and changing as it "grows" (it actually stays the same size but it's personality grows-up).
From the Wired article:
"It begins with the "hatchling" phase, a brief period when it's first turned on that never recurs (unless you reboot your dinosaur). Following a period of infancy, it enters "puppy" mode, when it can be trained most easily to adopt new behaviors: If it makes a particular honking noise and you play with it, it will repeat that honk to get you to play again. (Chung notes that you can even abuse a Pleo and make it bipolar by pulling its legs and refusing to "feed" it.) A few weeks after coming alive, Pleo hits "adolescence," during which it will mysteriously howl at the sky and sniff the air. After that, its voice drops an octave and it's an adult. Its personality won't change much after that..."
I mean how awesome is that? Too awesome, I know.