Click to viewEver since Barack Obama announced that he would be getting his daughters Malia and Sasha a puppy, dog-lovers have speculated on the breed of the future First Pooch. But we suspect the perfect dog for the Obamas is, in fact, a robot. A robotic pet won’t aggravate Malia’s allergies, and it would help solidify Obama’s position as the technology president. Here are ten real robotic pets that the Obamas should consider making a part of the First Family.G-Dog Price: $705 Features: Once assembled, G-Dog takes commands from a wireless remote to perform a basic set of canine commands. Pros: Some assembly required, so the girls will learn a little something before they can play with their new mechanized pet. Cons: G-Dog lacks the autonomy of a real dog. Plus, it’s pretty ugly.
Wrex the Dawg Price: $149 Features: Built to look like a literal junkyard dog, Wrex is a cartoon dog brought to robotic life. He walks, talks, farts, and performs all manner of doggie tricks. His infrared sensors allow him to roam free, or he can be programmed too perform up to 80 operation steps using a remote control. His mood shifts between happy, angry, or crazy, which changes the way he interacts with his surroundings. Pros: Wrex provides hours of fun, can stand guard outside Malia and Sasha’s rooms, and is unlikely to crash into the furniture. Cons: Wrex’s toilet humor may not be appreciated by White House guests.
robuDOG Price: €3200 Features: This French doggie bot can dance, play soccer, and take color photographs. It can also interface with Windows, allowing the girls to play with it in a virtual environment. Pros: It will not only provide companionship, but also document those early White House years. Cons: Obama uses a Mac.
BJ Price: ¥600,000 Features: Aiming to be the successor to Sony’s discontinued AIBO, BJ is a fully programmable pooch with a movable jaw, neck, legs, and tail, and the ability to sense distances and the proximity of people and animals. Pros: BJ runs on Linux and is tinker-friendly, showing support for the open source community. Cons: Needs to be renamed.
Pleo Price: $349 Features: Pleo is an autonomous robotic dinosaur with the ability to recognize sounds, sights, and touch. It expresses hunger, craves affection, explores its environment, and displays a wide range of emotions. Pros: More pet-like in its ability to react to sensory information and interact with its owner. Cons: Not actually a dog.
Paro Price: $5,531 Features: Paro is a baby harp seal that responds to petting by moving its tail, opening and closing its eyes, and making seal-like noises. It can also respond to sounds, learn a name, and show emotions. All of these features are designed to have a calming effect on humans. Pros: Has been deemed the world’s most therapeutic robot. Cons: It may be possible for children to get too attached to a robotic pet. Also, it’s still not a dog.
Mio Pup Price: $49.99 Features: Mio Pup is an interactive toy that accepts petting, plays music, and flashes emoticons in its eyes to signal its mood. Pros: Considerably less expensive than most robotic dogs. Cons: Essentially the canine equivalent of a Furby.
Robopet Price: $99.99 Features: The biomechanical pup performs the full array of canine tricks, responds to sound and human movement, and can be trained to perform tricks on command through positive and negative reinforcement. Pros: Easier to train than a real dog. Cons: For some reason, it has the capacity to become depressed.
Dacky the Healing Partner Price: $149.99 Features: Dacky reacts to petting thanks to its internal sensors. It also asks about your day, sings karaoke, and appears to learn up to 650 words of Japanese. Pros: Not only is Dacky furrier than most robotic pets, it could encourage the girls to learn a foreign language. Cons: Only comes in elitist purebred retriever.
Sakadachi-Lucky Price: $129.99 Features: Sakadachi is another furry bot who responds to voice commands. It can recognize its name, do a headstand, and play tug of war with its rope. Pros: Unlike Dacky, Sakadachi is of indeterminate breed. Cons: Also unlike Dacky, it only knows 13 words of Japanese.
BigDog Price: $10 million (at least that’s what DARPA paid) Features: Billed as “the most advanced quadruped robot on Earth,” BigDog can maneuver all manner of terrain, run, jump, climb stairs, and recover from a fall. Pros: Malia and Sasha could spend countless hours exploring the White House on BigDog's back. Cons: It’s not commercially available.