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Pingo penguin brings Facebook connection to life

A robotic toy that connects to your Facebook and follows your voice commands.

The robotic penguin called Pingo

Have hundreds of Facebook friends and still feel lonely and bored? Well, that's not new. What is new is the fact I probably have just what you want. It's a robotic penguin which, apart from being cute, can bring Facebook connections to life, quite literally.

About the size of a small chicken egg and taking the shape a penguin, the new device is called Pingo. It's an interactive electronic playmate that can move around your desk, express moods, respond to voice commands, sing songs, and read aloud e-mail messages, headlines, stock quotes, and weather.

Despite its little shape, Pingo comes packed with technology. It has two proximity sensors on the front, three ground sensors on the bottom, and two powered wheels. It also has built-in speakers, a microphone, and eyes that can change colors.

The device integrates into its owner's Facebook account via a Facebook application called MyDeskFriend. With this application, you can give Pingo a new name and customize its personality. After that it can be programed to read RSS newsfeeds or follow your voice command to send pokes, messages, or Facebook gifts, and so on. It can also follow your fingers around on a desk and is smart enough not to fall off.

Pingo is compatible with both Windows (XP/Vista and 7) and Mac OS (10.5 or later). It comes with a docking station that connects to your computer via a USB port. Unfortunately, it isn't cheap and costs around $150. If you want to get it as a Christmas present, you'll need to order it before December 14.