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February 6, 2006

Pleo dinosaur AI robot unveiled tomorrow

Chris Kirkham at PC World:

Furby creator Caleb Chung has emerged from five years of developing the next advancement in robotic technology: Pleo.

Scheduled to appear tomorrow at the DEMO technology conference in Phoenix, Pleo is a “life form” made by Ugobe, a Bay Area robotic technology group. Chung’s latest project is designed to resemble a one-week-old, long-neck dinosaur–a sauropod.

Pleo walks, Pleo listens, and Pleo feels–meaning Pleo has an advanced operating system that allows him to relate to humans through a wide range of emotions. If you startle Pleo, he will be surprised. If you play with Pleo, he will play back.

Equipped with 40 sensors and an advanced system of mobility, its makers say Pleo is a completely autonomous being that can interact with humans or simply react to the environment around him.

Pleo runs on a sophisticated operating system termed “LifeOS” by Christopher. Emotions are configured in an artificial intelligence engine using more than 50 algorithms to simulate hormones and sophisticated emotions. Christopher says Pleo has its own distinct personality–not quite dinosaur, not quite human.

The company has two target markets for Pleo, Christopher says. The first is kids ages 6 to 12 who will treat the product like a pet. The second is the 22-and-up crowd who are interested in customizing and adding to the base emotions of their Pleos.

Christopher says all the life forms made by Ugobe must obey three laws. They must feel and convey emotion, meaning they feel playful or angry and shows those emotions through either a cheerful or frustrated “squawk.” They also must be aware of themselves and their environment, so they know if they’re at the edge of a table and need to avoid falling. Third, they must evolve over time.

“Its voice might get deeper, it might learn new tricks on its own,” says Christopher. “It will evolve and adapt itself to the pet owner, and that’s where the AI [artificial intelligence] comes in.”

And then it takes over the world? Seriously, the full Ugobe press release is here.

Posted at 7:41 pm. Filed under Companies, Robots, Ugobe

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