Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Certainly you've heard of Pleo, the $250 pet robot dinosaur. It was released in 2007, and has been in the news recently because of its manufacturer, Ugobe's, bankruptcy. Pleo is supposed to be an infant Camarasaurus, the ubiquitous superstar of the Morrison Formation.

I'm a little confused by this feature, cited on Pleo's wiki page: "beat detection (allowed pleo to dance and listen to farts)." Well, it certainly has something over its ancestor, Furby. Seriously, this is the best Wiki graffiti I've seen since reading that Jakob Dylan is the "is the youngest, and hottest, of four children born to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and ex-wife Sara Dylan." Unless, of course, Pleo is actually designed to detect farts. Perhaps in their research, Ugobe decided that the flatulence theory of dinosaur extinction was clearly the most likely, and Pleo deserved a shot at avoiding the fate.

Here's a weird and somewhat creepy video of someone trying to make Pleo "sing." I imagine that you have to watch all five minutes, or most of it, to acheive the creep factor. Just something about that hand fondling a chunk of stiffly moving plastic and metal. While a cat, which is supposedly capable of some sort of reciprocal affection, sits confusedly in the background.

I can't watch that and not envision some billionaire of the future trying vainly to get his sexbot to perform. That is where this is all going, after all. People paying huge chunks of money for electronic sex partners, when a perfectly acceptable, much less expensive analog substitute is readily available. I'm speaking of prostitutes, of course. Though if you're given to this kind of behavior, stick with the expensive sexbot.

"What do you think?" the woman holding the camera asks.
"I haven't seen it do enough," he answers.

You never will, brother. You never will.

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