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Wappy robo-dog needs Tamagotchi-like love

Both a digital pet and a robot, Wappy has a personality and skills that evolve over time.

If Wappy (shown here in prototype form) gets too yappy, there's always the off switch. Activision

Ever since Sony sent Aibo to the great cyber-kennel in the sky, I've been longing for a new robot dog. Activision and Sega seem to be trying to take pity on people like me with Wappy, a frisky little artificial friend that links to a Nintendo DS.

One of several intriguing new high-tech toys shown at this year's Toy Fair in New York, Wappy's personality evolves as it interacts with its owner, much like the Tamagotchi digital pet of yore.

Wappy is both a video game and a simple robot toy that can sing and dance. They're synced so Wappy is the same dog on-screen and in robot form. The latter was apparently made by Sega, creator of the iDog.

Just like the Nintendogs game, users can play with and train the virtual Wappy on the DS when they're away from home, and then play with the robot when they get back. The goal of the game is to raise Wappy from a puppy, teaching it new tricks and caring for it.

Little Wappy is a far cry from the intelligent, charming Aibo, but I'll take what I can get. It's slated to come out this fall.