Rocobo, Takara Tomy's tiny "Tamagotchi on Steroids" is taking Tokyo by storm... and the wider world awaits. OK, don't get excited... but if you do, your interactive Rocobo robotic pet will too! Yell at Rocobo and the sassy li'l critter will flap his ears and yap right back. While you may think you're training this plastic pooch, it just might be training YOU at the same time!
An evolution of the popular Tamagotchi from years back, Rocobo is a pet with a screen as opposed to a screen with a pet. The blocky little guy is also mobile... well, sort of - its ears flap and its tiny legs twitch and kick when it gets excited. When does that happen? Well, Rocobo is sensitive to different sounds, so if you place him (her?) on your nightstand beside your alarm clock, the strident sound will jar the both of you awake in the morning.
Yes, I did say "awake"... Rocobo goes into something called Sleep Mode from which it'll awaken, if not by sound, then from your pointed finger poking the button on top of its square head. Visit the Takara Tomy product page to view a neat simulation of Rocobo doing its thing and sounding off with a variety of yips, yaps and yelps.
Robotic pets seem to be taking two different evolutionary paths: the animatronic one as exemplified by Sony's Aibo robot dog, and the more purely electronic one trail blazed by Bandai's Tamagotchi and it's multitude of clones & copies. Rocobo is a bit of both. Its casing is superficially dog-like but the face, as it were, is a flat screen upon which plays a wide variety of expressions. Odd at first, Rocobo tends to grow on you - all part of Takara Tomy's master plan, no doubt!
Check out one of Takara Tomy's charming 15-second Rocobo commercials!
Rocobo comes in six color and pattern combinations with names like Dot, Hottie, Netcha, Rushan, Lightie and Funny. Recently released in Japan and only sold there for now, each Rocobo interactive robotic pet costs 1,130 yen (about $9.00) and is available at most Japanese toy and department stores as well as from Amazon Japan. (via 3-Yen)
Japanese Innovations Writer