The future is here: you can now have a (really cute) dog robot for a pet
Introducing CHiP, the Canine Home Intelligent Pet from WowWee (known for making robotic products, including remote-control dogs). He’s white with black accents and looks like a plastic dog on rollerskates, only with built-in sensors, a GPS, and glowing blue eyes you’re sure to love. He was programmed with YouTube videos to move (and bark) as a real dog would. Like an actual pet, he can react to things around him, due to infrared sensors, which give him a 360-degree view. (So he can have run of the house while you’re at work without getting himself into trouble—he won’t chew up your shoes or have a hard-to-clean-up accident on the carpet. Robots for the win!)
To stay connected to you in the daytime, CHiP has Bluetooth technology (of course!) which is connected to the Smart Band you can wear like a watch (which resembles the Apple watch). You and CHiP can communicate this way, and CHiP will know where you are at all times. (A bit creepy, but okay.) You can press “like” on the band to reward CHiP’s good behavior, whether or not you are with him. And, also via Bluetooth, he’ll know when you’re getting home, so he’ll come greet you at the door. Then, you can train him as you would an actual dog: to sit, lay down, etc.
And when CHiP’s battery is low, he goes into his charging station—all by himself! (I feel this is the equivalent to a dog letting himself out!) Easy, huh? If, for some reason, he can’t locate his charging station, he can text you for help. (Yes, you read that correctly! Can you imagine being with a friend, getting a text, and explaining, “Oh, that’s just my dog”?!) When he does charge, it’ll take about two hours and then he’ll be good to go for two hours.
As for toys, you’ll save money there, too, since CHiP comes with a ball he can chase via sensors. Some demonstrations showed him falling down at times, his balance unsteady, but even real dogs have their off-kilter moments.
But how is CHiP different than other robot dogs that have been made? “It acts with intent,” Sufer told Mashable, meaning he will engage with you when you’re with him and keep himself occupied when you’re not. (Technology is bonkers, yet fascinating!)
CHiP is expected to be on the market in May 2016, for $199. Not bad. (My friend spends that much alone in a couple months’ time on organic dog food for her real dog.) As for downsides, there are no touch sensors yet, but they are in the works (for the back, head, and possibly the stomach). The watch seems a bit clunky, though I’m sure thinner ones will eventually be made. There’s also no voice recognition, so you can talk to CHiP, but he won’t respond. My only wish is that CHiP were more cuddly instead of hard plastic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’ll be an option in the future. A girl can hope.
You can take a look at CHiP in action here:
(Image via Twitter)