Pleo dinosaur robot gets a second life

We’re happy to report that Pleo, the cute green dinosaur robot originally created by UGOBE has been resuscitated, brought back from the dead actually, and is alive and well, just in time for Christmas, assuming you have deep pockets and can figure out what to do with the little creature.

Jetta, a.k.a. Innvo Labs, based in Hong Kong and Carson Nevada, bought the rights to the Pleo design, and has relaunched the product, and the Pleo World website, in hopes that the robot will gain enough public attention and interest to generate enough sales to recoupe their investment.

On the positive side, the Pleo robot design was ground breaking, definitely state of the art, and perhaps just a little bit more than state of the art, which may have been why UGOBE ran into so many problems and eventually failed. The robots learning/growing/evolving behavior was totally intrancing, and almost everyone that had the opportunity to see, interact, and pet one immediately developed an emotional, empathetic connection with Pleo.

In spite of the fact that Pleo takes hours to develop its personality, just like a real dinosaur baby would, and the short attention span of most people now days, most owners were patient and felt really fulfilled as their sleeping robot slowly evolved with their help and interaction.

So, what can you do with Pleo? Here’s what the PleoWorld website has to say on that topic:

“Interact with Pleo the same way you do with any living animal. Pleo can see, hear, and feel.”

Ok, fair enough. People are either going to be turned on by the technological achievement, or not. The robot geeks (us included) will be amazed and will have to have one at almost any price, while the non-geeks will probably just be puzzled and wonder what’s going on.

Video: Pleo introduction at the International Robot Exhibition (IREX2007) two years ago.

Talking about the price, the revived Pleo robot price is listed at USD$349, a bit beyond the usual Christmas present impulse purchase level, especially in times like these, but we’re sure that some devoted fans will find the money. Innvo Labs is currently only selling the robot to customers in the US, Canada, and the UK, though we suppose that the existing Pleo distributor here in Japan will offer a similar program, at a somewhat higher price.

What about warranty? If you buy one of the new Pleo’s, it looks like you’re covered:

“However, sometimes we find things that are just not repairable. In these cases, if a Pleo is within the 90-day warranty we are happy to replace it with no questions asked.”

But, if you’re beyond the 90 day warranty period (like everyone that bought the original Pleo must be by now), the company has a “Reincarnation” program that you may, or may not, find attractive:

“But we recognize that there are sometimes folks who have problems beyond the initial 90 days. For these Pleos, we are rolling out a new Pleo "Reincarnation" program, which allows owners to exchange their Pleo with a new one at a significantly reduced price of $245.”

We were also a little puzzled by the Pleo World “About” page information. It includes lots of great marketing statements, but says absolutely nothing about the actual people behind Innvo Labs, not even a name or thumbnail photo.

“Innvo Labs is designing the next-generation robotic companion pets, each more lifelike using the Innvo Labs Life OS. Our team includes experts in design, engineering, life sciences, philosophy, and manufacturing support. The company’s unique products, known as Life Forms, intend to blur the line between technology and life by integrating three disciplines―organic articulation, sensory response, and autonomous behavior. Innvo Labs aims to revolutionize robotics and transfer inanimate objects into lifelike creatures.

The company’s vision is to inspire mystery and awe in the young and the young at heart, providing extended novelty and entertainment. Innvo Labs continues to push the boundaries between life and robotics, re-creating species whether living, extinct, or fantasy. Innvo Labs is a world leader in robotic companion pets.

Innvo Labs Corporation is a privately-held company based in Hong Kong and Carson City, Nevada.”

We’ll be rooting for the little fellow, and really hoping that Pleo survives and thrives. The world needs more robotic products like Pleo, and the success of the Innvo Labs venture will help encourage further investment and more development.

Related links: Robots Rule


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