When I was growing up, I always had at least one or two cats, and while some people will be quick to say they are “dog people”, cats were always my favorites. Well, until the sad day when it was brought to my attention that the vicious “hay-fever” and itchy eyes I was constantly suffering from were massive allergies to the fuzzy critters.
Even though I sometimes miss having a lazy ball of purring goodness in my lap, you couldn’t pay me to indulge; the resulting sneeze-fest just wouldn’t be worth it. Would I be willing to try out a robotic kitty instead? Hmm, it just wouldn’t seem the same.
But that’s exactly what SlashGear recently did. Similar to the way that I have been lusting over the Ugobe Pleo, Chris wanted . He was able to eventually acquire one, and it would appear that he has now got a rather decent stand-in cat.of
“All your mice are belong to us!”
Yume Neko Smile (translated as Dream Cat Smile) stands 13-inches tall and weighs around 4.5lbs. Currently available solely in white, she’s powered by three C batteries and comes equipped with five different sensors hidden in different parts of her body, each of which react to touch. In terms of motion, Yume Neko can’t chase mice (her rear legs are articulated but hang still when you lift her by the scruff of the neck) but she’ll blink, move her mouth, her neck, rear up and lie down, all the time purring, meowing and – should you upset her by squeezing her tail – hissing. After a period of being left to her own devices, like most cats, she’ll fall asleep, briefly snoring before settling down into a low-power mode.
And yet it seems all a tad cold to discuss this robot cat as, well, just that – a robot – because after slotting in the batteries and flipping the switch (all hidden behind a velcro-closed flap in her stomach) you soon lose sight of the fact that she’s anything less than real. Grown adults coo and fuss over her, stroking her head, tickling her under the chin, all the time gasping when she meows, or growls, or suddenly sits up and blinks in apparent astonishment. It’s strange: you can hear the motors whirring, the sounds are pretty obviously electronic recordings, and there’s no warm body beneath the polyester fur, but your senses conspire to reduce you to treating Yume Neko as if she were alive.
Chris also says that he “expected children to be the primary audience – it is, after all, branded a toy – and while this may be true, many adults expressed interest in buying one. Some had recently lost pets of their own, others lived by themselves and found stroking the cat relaxing. Ironically, even people who normally weren’t cat people were curious, usually drawn in by the fact that it’s a robot.”
I wonder what my Yorkie Gizmo would think about this white ball of fur? He would probably be fine with it, as long as it did not usurp his spot in my lap.