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Friday, October 19, 2007


Pleo Dinosaur - Pleo and Caleb at PopTech

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Before I make my "round-up" post about Pleo at PopTech, I want to preface this post with a comment meant for a small portion of the people that have contacted me about Pleo and what the baby dino can do. They are a little confused because when they see videos of Pleo, they point out he moves slowly or doesn't do tricks like some of the toy robots they have seen. Here's my answer to those people:
If Pleo was just a toy robot then I'd be worried that there isn't a giant list of preset features and tricks for him. However, Pleo is a "cuddlebot" so there's not and you'll never feel like you need one. You'll just love him!

Now on to PopTech and Pleo.

Pleo and proud father Caleb Chung made an appearance at PopTech, the annual conference held in Camden, Maine that explores popular Internet culture, online ethics and privacy issues. Unfortunately I could not attend but I did manage to find several articles that covered the event. Without exception all of them were impressed with Caleb, especially his sense of humor and passion, and Pleo too.

Technology, business, and life blogger Renee of Down The Avenue has several wonderful live photographs from PopTech and of Caleb too in her most recent Poptech post. My favorite is the last one which shows Pleo in the background and foreground while Caleb holds Pleo in his hands. The article gives a nice overview of Caleb's career and also his feelings about creating artificial life using his talent for biomimicry. The author was impressed with his presentation and added:
"On top of being an incredible inventor, he has a lively and addictive sense of humor."
A short paragraph on Pleo and Caleb at PopTech can be found on the Core 77 Design blog in their PopTech post. I'm referencing it because of an interesting quote by the author where they summarize Caleb's vision for what constitutes artificial life:
"Chung stressed our need to feel empathy and how Pleo embodies form, adaptability, lifelike sensory action and reaction, and evolution (and motors and software) to nurture that necessity."
Wired of course has killer photos of Caleb doing his presentation in their PopTech/Pleo post. The write-up is short but the photos are definitely worth seeing, especially the one of Caleb holding Pleo by the tail. (Hey everybody, Pleo doesn't mind. Ugobe made the tail super tough and as long as you give Pleo plenty of attention and love, a little tail pulling is alright!). The best quote from the blog post is:
"Ugobe's baby robot dinosaur Pleo is certainly poised to become the gotta-have toy of the 2007 Holiday season."
Social media watchdog Stuart Henshall laments in his PopTech post that he couldn't make it to the show this year; a sentiment I share. However, after watching a web cast on PopTech Live he called Caleb's address a "brilliant presentation" and notes that his daughter is already demanding one of the little blue-eyed stealer of hearts.

That's it for today. Why can't I stop thinking of Pop Tarts?

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