SONY began development back in 1997 of the Q.taro (Quasi-stable Traveling Action Robot), a spherical ‘bot with path finding capabilities dubbed a ‘healing creature’. Displayed at Robodex 2002, it could play music and dance, respond to 10 voice commands, and simulate different “moods” through its large, color-changing light (similar to a mood ring).
To turn it on, you simply hold it in your hand and your body heat activates it. At 17cm in diameter, it’s about the size of a volleyball, moving on two tire treads in its base. Obstacle sensors prevent it from falling off a ledge and avoiding walls.
Rather than plugging it in to a wall outlet to charge it, the Q.taro featured inductive battery charging (non-contact), with a single charge lasting about 3 hours. Unfortunately, this would-be Samus Morphball never made it to market, and hasn’t been seen since displays in 2003.
Impress PC Watch | SONY Aibo.net