A recent post over at MAKE set forth the call to companies: If you're going to kill a product or product line, make it open source! That way the ever-resourceful hacker and modder communities can really sink their teeth into a product that wouldn't be generating any profit for the company anyway. We've got a list of six ahead-of-their-time, awesome gadgets that were killed too soon--gadgets that could be capable of some amazing stuff if opened to the right people.
What makes Pleo, the long-awaited toy dino from Ugobe, able to respond to its surroundings and learn from its environment? We take a look at his high-tech innards to see
By Sarah Z. WexlerPosted 03.13.2008 at 4:32 pm 13 Comments
Four years in the making, Pleo, from California start-up Ugobe, is a baby dinosaur robot that acts and learns like a real animal, remembering traumatic experiences and friendly owners. We peeled off its skin to reveal more than a dozen motors, six processors and 38 sensors behind its personality.
Last week, toy manufacturers showed off the gadgets that’ll have you lining up outside stores come Christmas; we pick our favorites for all kids at heart
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 02.25.2008 at 4:34 pm 1 Comment
The annual Toy Industry Association's Toy Fair is every kids dream: A whole conference center packed with games, robots, balls, hula hoops, slime guns, Smurfs, and just about any other instrument of fun that you can imagine. Come to think of it, its every adults dream, too.
Weve been anxiously awaiting the debut of the Pleo—the super high-tech robo-dino loaded with sensors and artificial intelligence—since we first reported on it last year. Here at Pop!Tech, I had a chance to chat with the Pleos inventor, Caleb Chung.
He brought along the latest prototype (its scheduled to go on sale this Christmas) which proceeded to graze, coo and whine adorably throughout the interview—Chung fed him my business card when he got hungry. I must say, the thing is really cute. And it's all in the little details: he sort of giggles when you chuck him under the chin, has big blue eyes that blink and get droopy when he gets tired, and so on. Chung says they're the most realistic-looking eyes ever placed in a toy and, looking at the Pleo, I believe him.
The other really amazing thing about the Pleo physically is its uniquely soft, rubbery skin. You can sort of scrunch it up in your hand, like puppy scruff, which I proceeded to do immediately. Interestingly, the skin was one of the hardest parts of the Pleo to make, Chung told me, because it basically makes the toy a walking rubber bag. "How do you get sound out of a rubber bag? How do you dissipate heat?"
Much has been made of the pet's artificial intelligence capabilities, but the cooler feature, I think, is the Pleo's programmable open-source computing platform. Want him to speak with your voice? Sleep less? Eat more? He's your pet and you can train him as you please. Hacks are welcome, says Chung. You could even take advantage of Pleos more than 33 sensory inputs—object detectors, infrared sensors, capacitive touch sensors, and more—turning him into a smoke detector or a surveillance cam for your home (my ideas, not Chung's). Making the Pleo quite the multi-talented Dino. And did I mention its cute? —Nicole Dyer
Loaded up with sensors and motors, this robo-dino is so
lifelike, you just might consider replacing your cat
By Jenny EverettPosted 04.04.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Refer to "Pleo" as a robotic pet, and its co-inventor, Caleb Chung (of Furby fame), will quickly set you straight: Pleo is a designer life-form. That's because, on the outside, everything about the one-week-old Camarasaurus is very unrobotic. Its movements are fluid, not rigid; its actions are seemingly spontaneous and unprogrammed; and its skin is smooth, seamless and stretchy. Inside, however, the 3.3-pound Pleo is very robotic indeed.