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Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Pleo - Autonomy Made Adorable

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After watching the video of Pleo I slipped into deep thought over the most powerful trait that a toy or robot can have. That trait is the concept of autonomy. The primary dictionary definition of autonomy is:

  1. The condition or quality of being autonomous; independence.
But to you and I such a definition is meaningless. Autonomy, especially when it comes to a being or a life form, is something that we know when we see it. I don't care if you have a robot that can see in seven different energy spectrums, can recognize my face, and can relay my email to me. If I don't feel an animal to animal spiritual bond with it the instant I see it, it's only semi-autonomous to me. It's only a toy or a machine, albeit one with impressive computing capabilities and other technological bells and whistles.

The reason I am stressing this is as a preface to the wondrous feeling that came over me when I watched the Pleo video. When I started watching the video I had put on my skeptical technical hat. I sat with my arms crossed and an expression on my face that was the picture of carefully guarded optimism.

About the time the 2 minute and 45 second mark in the video rolled around, I caught myself in a strikingly different state of mind, right when you see Pleo playfully nipping and holding on to Caleb Chung's finger. My hands had dropped to my side, along with my jaw, and I was astonished to witness how my feelings had changed. I had completely suspended disbelief and realized I was watching the video not as a technically inclined adult, but as a child watching a Pixar movie that had brought my favorite fantasy pet to life. Except, this was no animation and the adorable cuddly creature in front of me was a real true-to-life three dimensional artificial life form named Pleo. I defy you to suppress the involuntary grin that will come over you when you watch Pleo's tail curl up as Caleb stroke it's lower back.

Being a manly macho kind of guy I soon, with difficulty, retracted my feelings and started reading once again about Pleo's legion of advanced sensor nets and evolutionary and revolutionary learning technologies. But I save the discussion of those features for another time. Because none of that will matter to you when you watch Pleo. The only thing that will matter is the irrepressible desire to pet it. Companies will argue for decades to come over who was the first company to produce a truly autonomous robot or artificial life form. But I think there will be no doubt that we will remember Pleo as the first artificial life form that made us believe it was autonomous.

More coming soon...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


C|Net's Demo 2006 Pleo Interview

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C|Net has a good interview with Ugobe's CEO Bob Christopher and inventor Caleb Chung about
. The Pleo video is about 3 minutes long but you do get to see Caleb playing with the litte green robot dinosaur and it's entertaining so have a look.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Flickr Pleo Group

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I've just started a Flickr group for pictures. If you have any and are a Flickr user, please send them over to the Flickr Pleo group. Pictures of UGoBe bigwigs in action like Furby and now Pleo inventor Caleb Chung are also welcome. If you are not a Flickr user, it's free so come join and upload your Pleo pictures.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Pleo - UGoBe's Adorable Robot Dinosaur

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This is a brand new blog that will report to you everything I discover about UGoBe's adorable and amazing new , the . There will be much more to come including pictures, sounds, video links, and hot tips. For now, you absolutely must watch , the inventor of the Furby and the creative genius behind the Pleo, demonstrate his latest brainchild in an entertaining Pleo video on

When you are done watching it, I would really like you to stop by my new Pleo forum which is dedicated specifically to the Pleo and is hosted on the popular RobotsRule robots forum. Stay tuned, it's going to be exciting!

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