Phison Electronics, a Taiwanese company, demonstrated a new pet robot at the Tokyo Toy Show last month called U.bo (U = designed for You, bo = ball shape). U.bo is an alien spore from a distant planet that lives inside a 6-legged space craft. It can walk forwards and backwards, turn left and right, make sounds, and display a variety of animated icons and emoticon-like faces through its 11×11 LED array. Similar to a Tamagotchi, U.bo needs to be fed from time to time, and will call out to its owner when it gets hungry. A magnetic cookie accessory must be tilted towards the robot’s mouth to feed it. It will also poop, pee, fart, and burp. After it has done its business (which includes showing a large poop icon) the owner must shake the robot to clean it up. Owners who neglect their U.bo will find their new pet lacks energy.
The product comes with interactive software which can be installed on PCs. Different mouse buttons are used to interact with a virtual U.bo, and users can balance its energy and “love power” by feeding it. A mobile phone can be used as a remote control using BlueTooth. Touch sensors in its “bum” and back can be used to pet it, which makes it happy. If U.bo is being naughty you can also spank its bum, which causes it to cry and run away. Shaking the robot will also cause it to get dizzy, and it will get upset if left wrong side up. These sorts of interactions are recorded into memory and may affect its future personality. When two U.bos are placed in close proximity, they can interact together by dancing, singing, and “kissing”.
The pet robot measures 10cm in length and 8.5cm high, and weighs 210g. It has 2 DC motors for moving its legs, and will last around 14 hours on 2 AA batteries. In addition to its LED face, it has a pair of LEDs in its cheek for blushing and another LED in its “tail”. An accelerometer is used to detect shake and tilt. Many more photos can be found here, and you can watch more videos at the official YouTube channel.
Video (Group dancing to Ricky Martin):