Robotic 'Zoomer' Performs Same Tricks as a Real Dog
Yep, that's a boy dog.
CREDIT: Spin Master
There have been lots of attempts at a robot dog over the years including Sony's smart but sterile AIBO and Rags, the robot Scottie from Woody Allen's Sleeper.
But none are as cute or as interactive as Zoomer from Spin Master.
Sort of a cross between a Dalmatian and a beagle (think of a spotted Snoopy), Zoomer is fully articulated, and capable of a wide range of limber movements. Zoomer can even completely roll over and play dead (and his expressive LED eyes adorably turn into Xs). And its ball paws can transverse carpeting or a rug as easily as a hardwood floor. Zoomer has no articulated mouth so he can't fetch or catch a Frisbee, but he can push stuff around. And he will come when you call him, or ignore you and just wander off and explore on his own.
As with all previous robot dogs, the more you play with Zoomer, the more he learns (and, like a real dog, sometimes forgets).
How do we know Zoomer is a "he"? Because when Zoomer is instructed to pee, he lifts his hind leg rather than squats.
Zoomer whimpers and simpers and wags his tail just like a puppy when you express affection by cooing at him or, thanks to sensors, when you scratch his belly. He's all the fun of a real dog with none of the loud barking, feeding, poopy mess, chewed up shoes, or slobbering.
You can recharge Zoomer via USB from a PC for an hour or through AC for a half hour to get 20 to 40 minutes of doggie play time. Unfortunately, Zoomer's software isn't upgradable. Spin Master's Zoomer will be available in August for $100.