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SmartPet turns an iPhone into a pet dog, wins Tokyo Toy Show award

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June 18, 2012

SmartPet recently impressed judges at the 2012 Tokyo Toy Show, where it scooped the innova...

SmartPet recently impressed judges at the 2012 Tokyo Toy Show, where it scooped the innovative toy category award

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It's said that dogs are man's best friend, but in recent years it feels like pooches have lost this role to ever-present and reliable smartphones. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that someone has combined the two. The SmartPet is a toy which, with the addition of your iPhone, becomes a cartoon-faced pet dog robot.

Created by Japanese toymaker Bandai, creator of the Tamagotchi, SmartPet recently impressed judges at the Tokyo Toy Show - with its tail-wagging, trick performing and cartoon facial responses - enough to scoop the innovative toy category award.

Said to be suitable for users over the age of 15 (though Bandai thinks 20 to 40-year-olds will be typical buyers), the SmartPet consists of a plastic robot body without a face ... but fret not, that's where the iPhone comes in. After downloading the SmartPet app from iTunes, users pop their iPhone into a case which then clicks into place to become the face of their new robotic canine companion.

Once the app is running, SmartPet springs into life and can walk around, sit up, wag its tail and respond to its owner using voice recognition, gesture commands and the touchscreen. It's said to have a total of 100 combinations of facial expressions and body movements, to respond to various user stimuli.

SmartPet will cost around US$100, and Bandai thinks 20 to 40-year-olds will be typical buy...

Users can also customize their SmartPet by selecting from a choice of faces and adding accessories (think sunglasses and the like) and thanks to that Bandai Tamagotchi heritage, look after their digital pooch by checking on its health and feeding or medicating it via the touchscreen menu. The menu also lets users access games with their SmartPet, set it to play music or interact with other SmartPets using Bluetooth.

SmartPet, which measures 6.7 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches (170 x 170 x 110 mm) and is powered by three AA batteries, will be available from this month for 7,800 yen (approximately US$100) and comes in either black or white.

Here's a video from Bandai showing someone dancing with their SmartPet.

Source: Bandai

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.   All articles by Simon Crisp
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5 Comments

that is not only cool but also affordable. It would be cooler if it could work with other smart phones besides the iPhone.

BigGoofyGuy
18th June, 2012 @ 05:52 pm PDT

it is so wonderful, a perfect combination of useful and beautiful.

berryvan
19th June, 2012 @ 12:15 am PDT

This is exactly the reason Google should develop a standard Android Dock specification now that they own Motorola.

Mobile phones have a very bright future in robotics that we haven't scratched the surface on yet.

I saw a demo where someone installed a Kinect on a Roomba like platform and ran the software on a mounted laptop and programmed it to follow them around the house. If you can run the software on a laptop why not a docked phone?

For $300 in hardware you could build a robot that can navigate your home and even follow a person. It allows a whole new realm of possibility.

"Robot, follow me around with those tools so I don't have to stop working to go get them"

"Robot, let me know if the baby gets out of her crib"

"Robot, let the dog out if he wines at the door"

"Robot, go ask sally for the cordless phone and bring it to me"

"Robot, what will the weather be like today?"

"Robot, we are leaving on vacation till 6/22, if anyone comes in the house while we are gone take photos of them and save them to Dropbox"

We may not be there quite yet but mobile phones are closer to making that possible than most other technologies.

And before anyone points out the obvious like "well if you are on vacation why would your phone be at home". The point is mobile phones are an area with billions of dollars a year in R&D and software that the robotics industry could never dream of so it makes sense to ride the coat tails of that industry.

I think companies like WowWee would be crazy not to get something like this little dog on the market and start adding features to the platform from there. The early patents could potentially have huge repercussions over the next 20 years but fortunately maybe the Jetsons had prior art :)

Daishi
19th June, 2012 @ 06:53 pm PDT

...sadly the company were happy to sell me this toy THREE MONTHS AGO however they failed to tell me that they haven't even developed the software in English so it's a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME BUYING IT if you live in the UK or the US!! COME ON BANDAI GET THE SOFTWARE ONTO ITUNES NOW!!!!!!!

Richard Hill
13th July, 2012 @ 02:15 am PDT

"Diz-se que os cães são o melhor amigo do homem, mas nos últimos anos ela se sente como pooches ter perdido esse papel para smartphones sempre presentes e confiável."

Não acredito que fizeram essa comparação!Comparar um amigo de verdade com um Objeto Eletronico!?Como assim?!?Os animais são os melhores amigos do homem e sempre vai ser, não é por causa de um robozinho bonito que vão perder esse papel!E vcs acham que os cachorros não são sempre presentes e confiaveis???Eles pelo o menos não acabam a bateria e tem que ficar carregando uma vez por semana!!!

Taty Cristiinah
20th September, 2012 @ 09:39 am PDT
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