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Peer Review: the Pleo has landed

Peer Review: the Pleo has landed: pleopr.jpg

This week, members of the press finally started getting test versions of Pleo, the long-awaited, much-delayed robotic dinosaur. Here at DVICE, we had our own unique take on Pleo’s arrival. Others weren’t so cruel. They found Pleo to be incredibly lifelike and cute, if not exactly cuddly. Pleo costs $350, which is a lot for a toy dinosaur, but not pricey compared to other robots with similar levels of intelligence.

A round-up of views from around the Web after the jump.

It’s not for kids; mine is a girl
‘This is a very odd beast. On the one hand, it’s impossible to forget that Pleo is a machine, since every time she moves, you can hear the motors whirring. But then you sort of forget that she’s not an animal… The company insists Pleo is not a toy, but let’s be honest. Pleo is a toy, albeit an expensive one, and one that is probably not appropriate for little children.’ , CNet

He’s not fuzzy or soft
‘I want to pet him, but my fingers and hands drag on the skin. It’s also a bit disconcerting to be able to feel through to his ‘skeleton’ underneath.’ , GearLog

Don’t torture robots (unless you’re us)
‘The press materials that came with the Pleo suggested I hold it by its tail to see what happens. It screams and thrashes. My 4-year-old started crying. I had to promise my wife never to do that again in front of her.’ , Boing Boing

You probably can’t get Pleo to perform sexual favors…
‘But can you hack it? Pleo runs something called ‘Life OS’ and has a scripting language ‘loosely based on C’. They say, ‘you will be able to modify Pleo’s behavior using scripting, but not the underlying Life OS.’ So, basically, no soccer-playing Pleos anytime soon…. But all in all, for $350 bucks, the Pleo is a fine coffee table robot.’, CrunchGear

Shortest battery life ever
‘Everything’s powered by a NiMH battery — which, unfortunately, gets only an hour on a charge.’ , PC World

Pleo noises are disconcerting without diminishing his cuteness
‘The motors on this thing are loud. Like, kind of distractingly loud. Yet somehow it remains ineffably adorable. You just want to take care of the little bugger… Jury’s still out on the Tim Allen-esque grunting noises.’ , Engadget

The ultimate betrayal
‘With my luck my Pleo will fall in love with the Roomba and elope. I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than getting a ‘Dear John’ letter from your own pet!’, commenter on Pleoworld Forum

We know that not all of you approve of robot torture. The real question is will you replace your goldfish with a plastic dinosaur this winter?

(Via DVICE.)


December 9, 2007 - Posted by | Technology

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