Korean children, already fast becoming a robot-friendly lot, have a new companion in Kibot, a monkey-faced bot that can read fairy tales, sing songs, take pictures, and make video calls via a display embedded in its tummy.
Wireless operator KT Telecom started delivering the multitasking monkey today for 485,000 won ($447), plus wireless packages that can be purchased in 12- or 14-month installments.
"It's really cute," said my 9-year-old friend Stella, a co-worker's daughter who visited CNET's offices today. "I would get one if it was in blue." (No luck; for now, it only comes in pink and gray).
Kibot (short for "kid's robot") isn't just for kids, however. Parents can also remotely control the 8-inch-tall wheeled robot via mobile phone and, using Wi-Fi, monitor their children (a feature that made Stella a tad apprehensive).
"If I was sleeping, it wouldn't be that comfortable if I knew someone was watching me," she said. "It would be freaky."
Big brother (or father) concerns aside, Stella thinks the robot playmate--which is aimed at kids younger than she is, 3 to 7--would be a hoot to have around.
She was especially excited by the video chat function, which lets kids make calls via the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera simply by touching an RFID card bearing the picture of a familiar face (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and so on) to the device. … Read more