We're not sure why they did it, but the UGOBE folks brought the new Pleo dinosaur robot to RoboGames 2007 in San Francisco this June. They were there on Friday, the first day that the event was open to the public, but then disappeared completely a day later. We suspect it was an exercise in test marketing to see what kind of reaction the robot drew.
Anyway, we're not complaining since it did give us the opportunity to see - and even touch - what is sure to become one of the top selling robot toys/gadgets for Christmas 2007.
We contacted UGOBE back when Pleo was originally unveiled and expressed interest in doing a review for our readers. They didn't have any plans to introduce the robot in Japan, where we live (although Robots Dreams has a strong global reader base), and declined our offer. So, being able to experience Pleo up close and personal was a big, and totally unexpected, treat for us.
This Pleo was apparently one of the engineering pre-production units, and looked kind of odd with its charger plugged in. The skin does have a fairly realistic texture and feel to it, and it's obviously that UGOBE has put a tremendous amount of effort into making Pleo as lifelike as possible.
Even Pleo's "Kiss my butt" pose is incredibly cute. One thing we really want to dig into is the leg articulation. It may faithfully reproduce one of the dinosaurs, but it still looks a little like they just turned the rear legs around to serve as the front legs.
Pleo is literally jam-packed with sensors and technology. The breadboard above shows all of Pleo's onboard sensors, circuit boards, and support components. The only major components that aren't shown in the photo are Pleo's motors which were simulated with LED's..
Here's a video of Pleo doing a short demo: