As devoted owners of the Sony Aibo face the mortality of their precocious robo-pups, the rest of the world realizes how close a mechanical companion and their human caretakers can really be. Aibo isn’t the only case of digital attachment: everything from the Tamagotchi to, a certain extent, the AI we interact with every day in the form of Siri and other virtual assistants all kindle this unlikely connection.
WowWee, an established company that specializes in creating intelligent robots, is looking to assuage fears of post-Aibo loneliness with its CHiP robot dog. Instantly, the charming four-wheeled, dual stereo-ed computerized canine barks, whimpers, and growls its way to the heart by showing affection to whoever is sporting the included smart band. With it, the user can have CHiP follow him/her around, control it directly or issue it a ‘sic ’em’ command. Crucially, the band contains a like button to reinforce behaviors and change its personality over time.