We don't know for sure if Matt Bauer, creator of Rooks Pawn, was ever a Boy Scout or not. But, we do know that he's a wiz at practicing their 'Be Prepared' motto. For example, when an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States happened to come up on his radar screen, Matt immediate jumped at the chance to promote robotics.
"Clarence Thomas and his son stopped by our shop today for his motor coach generator’s annual maintenance. Never would I miss a chance to talk about the importance of robotics to such an influential man. I don’t know how much bearing this encounter will ultimately have, but I’d like to think he walked away with at least a little food for thought… I know I have. Note: This was the first he and his son have seen a Pleo or heard of humanoid robotics."
Robert Oschler loves robots. We've given up trying to keep track of all the robots Robert has, but it has to be well over two dozen at this point, perhaps even more if you count the crazy remote controlled chimpanzee head (WowWee) as an actual robot. Robert is also the developer of the popular RoboDance software application for the WowWee robot line, and more recently the TOMY i-SOBOT humanoid robot.
So, we shouldn't have been surprised when the Nightline television program (see video below) decided to interview him for a recent news segment featuring Pleo, the new robot dinosaur.
Pleo, the AI packed robotic dinosaur infant, was introduced to the market here at the IREX show at the end of last November. IREX is the worlds largest robotic exhibition, and always draws huge crowds. Attendees are primarily local, as you might expect, but there are a large number of people that fly in from all over the globe just to see the latest and greatest in robot technology and design.
Pleo grabbed a lot of attention and interest. People really got into the Pleo experience (see video below) after they got the hang of it. The exhibitors booth was always crowded, and the staff was almost overwhelmed with questions from prospective Pleo parents. It will be interesting to see how the product is received here, and how well it sells over the next six months to a year.
’Pleo Robot Debuts (Video)’ continues
We have to admit up front that we've been a little harsh on UGOBE and Pleo the robot dinosaur in the past. Truth is that we really like the "product", even though we do have some concerns about how it has been managed and promoted. We would even buy one, if UGOBE and the local distributors here in Japan didn't insist on a roughly 50+% markup over the US price.
But, we're just a small, niche blog that has a limited, if dedicated, following. We're not the New York Times, nor can we write as well, and as pointedly, as David Pogue. Pogue, for those that don't already know him, is one of the world's top and most widely read technology reviewers and critics. He's even been invited to entertain and enlighten the attendees at the TED conferences.
In his hands-on review of the Pleo this week titled "Pleo the (Yawn) Dino-Robot. Next!", Pogue was loud and clear in voicing his, and his children's, opinions that the Pleo experience doesn't last more than half a hour, and that the company's hype for the robot is inflated by a thousand times.
While he does say that "... everyone should have the chance to play with a Pleo...", he then goes on to propose a new website scheme that would pass Pleo's from user to user at a fraction of the original purchase price - kind of a Pleo/NetFlix mash-up.
Perhaps it comes down to the fact that this type of toy/gadget/novelty isn't for everyone. It's not like a mp3 player, laptop computer, or cell phone.
Some people, like us, will be fascinated by Pleo, and will end up spending hours, days, weeks, or even years getting a lot of pleasure, excitement, surprise, and enjoyment out of it. For others, maybe the majority, Pleo will turn out to be a lot like the original Robosapien - a 'wow' gotta have it kind of toy for the moment and then spend the rest of its life on the shelf or in the dark bedroom closet corner.
We're big Mel Brooks fans, and it's occurred to us more than once that if Brooks ever designed a robot it would end up looking, and behaving, a lot like Pleo. After finding the video below on YouTube, we're convinced we were right on target.
Well, unfortunately it looks like we won't be getting a Pleo anytime soon, at least not here in Japan. If we really want one we'll have to buy it in the US during one of our trips and bring it back with us. Ugobe, the developers of the fascinating robot dinosaur have apparently fallen into the same trap that other foreign manufacturers have in the past, which is unfortunate.
Pleo will be introduced in Japan with pre-orders being accepted by Business Design Laboratory starting December 1st. But, the list price will be 52,500 yen (almost 500 dollars)! Business Design Laboratory sells other robot products at a premium, like the $4,000+ Hello Kitty robot, the ifBot that sells for close to $6,000, and Nuvo at well over $5,000. None of these products appear to be setting any sales records.
’Pleo Falls Into Trap in Japan’ continues