While Boston Dynamics is busy creating robotic dogs that you wouldn’t let near your actual pets, the Japanese company Bandai is balancing that out by releasing a new robotic dog called Smartpet. It has an iPhone for a face and a robotic docking station for a body.
Bandai is a company that knows a fair bit about digital pets, having previously been responsible for the Tamagotchi handhelds that were all the rage back in the late 90s. These latest virtual kept-animals come in black or white and will cost around $78 when they’re released on 24th April. As well as its robotic body, it also comes with a free app that lets you create different facial expressions via the touchscreen on your phone, and you can also engage it in tricks using the Facetime camera or your voice.
And, should you wish to do something ridiculous with your phone like make a phone call, you can. Your device still functions as a handsfree phone and alarm clock. So if you were after a companion but couldn’t face the daily walks and all that dog crap, this could be for you. Or your girlfriend. Or your child.
[via Technology Review]