“Robobutterfly” may not have quite the same coolness factor as words like Robocop, Robowrestler, or even Robogecko. The fact is, however, you can now buy your own flying mechanical butterfly, and it looks pretty impressive. Marketed in Japan as the ChouChou Electric Butterfly, the fluttering electric bug-in-a-mason-jar was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Toy Show and this month it became available to the public.
To activate the ChouChou, you tap the top of its jar. The butterfly then proceeds to flutter around in a seemingly random fashion, even stopping for very realistic-looking wing-heaving breaks before continuing to attempt escape from its transparent prison. Although the manufacturer isn’t volunteering an explanation of just how the thing works, online retailer Firebox has noted that the lid takes two AA batteries, and a thin wire extends down into the jar. While the flying action is indeed quite lifelike, the video posted by Firebox (not the video below) reveals that the butterfly does emit a slight electronic buzzing sound when it’s in action.
Marketed in the UK as My Butterfly, the ChouChou comes in Monarch, Yellow Swallowtail, Pink Morpho and Blue Morpho versions. There’s also a plastic-jar version for kids. It’s available to UK residents for GBP19.99 (including shipping), and is sold internationally for US$46 (plus $25 shipping) by Japan Trend Shop.