(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
From the creator of robo-puppy Zoomer comes Boomer — an adorable little robotic Tyrannosaurus rex.
Robotic dogs are so passé. If you want to hang with the cool kids, you need the latest and greatest in robo-buddies — Boomer, the robotic baby T. rex. It's the brainchild of Spin Master, the company behind the robotic dog Zoomer.
Boomer, alas, isn't quite market-ready, but a YouTube video showcasing some of the little guy's features in prototype form has us pretty excited.
Like Zoomer before him, Boomer will be a little robotic friend that will interact with a human. Zoomer had pre-programmed tricks and behaviours that felt almost like a real, live pet — but Boomer has a few other tricks up his tiny — er, nonexistent — sleeve.
"Our goal with this toy is just to make it as real as possible, rather than do a handful of single 'tricks'," creator Benjamin Dermer wrote on Reddit. "Whenever we were met with decisions in programming, we just always ask, how would a real baby dinosaur behave? (At best guess at least.) I think a lot of other robot toys have been pretty shallow and focus more on control rather than 'life'. For us, this is an exercise in designing lifelike AI so that kids can feel they have a real pet."
To that end, Boomer can respond to external stimuli, such as interactions with humans — and he can learn. The video below shows Dermer teaching Boomer to sit, pulling his tail to make him mad, giving him gesture- and voice-based commands and feeding him a treat of crumpled up paper. Whether or not the dino will have facial and voice recognition is uncertain, but it would be pretty cool.
Boomer, according to Dermer, will be entering production within a few weeks, with a release date for sometime in spring at a price point of around US$100. We can't wait. Although we do question the wisdom in naming a robot after a Cylon.