We were saddened when Ugobe, maker of the Pleo dinobot, filed for bankruptcy over a year ago. However, little Pleo has managed to beat the odds and survive, now made by Innvo Labs, who won the rights to the 'bot at auction. The improved version, "Pleo Reborn" (or Pleo RB), is about to evolve into being.
As you may recall, Pleo 1.0 was a fairly sophisticated toy robot. It was autonomous — meaning there was no remote control and "learned" how to behave and navigate its environment all on its own. Its sophisticated sensors meant Pleo would react to your touch differently depending on which part of its body you petted (or punched). Battery life was a challenge, however.
The new Pleo improves on the original in a few key ways:
- The lithium-polymer battery lasts two hours (the old Pleo died after just one).
- It has tougher skin, so presumably it'll last longer.
- The sensors include a "smell" ability that's based on RFID tech, and will work with various food accessories (which will no doubt cost extra).
- Similarly, Pleo RB can take medicine to treat "injuries."
- More ways to interact: four extra touch sensors, a gravity sensor, a temperature sensor, basic voice recognition and an internal clock.
- In case the pic above didn't give it away, the new Pleo comes in two colors, blue and pink, which probably designate gender (thought that's not confirmed).
- Finally, there are apparently more unspecified tricks it can learn on the fly.
That all sounds great, but for how much? There's no official price yet, but someone at a Hong Kong trade show is said to have bought one for $500, which would be a whopping $150 more than the original. We can't imagine Innvo would dare to sell these for the same cost as an iPad, though, so when the first Pleo RBs become available in the U.S. — which might happen as soon as Halloween — we expect to see a price tag more in line with attracting some holiday sales.