News.com is running an article on an emotionally-responsive dinosaur robot
that the Ugobe company has in the works for 2007. Called 'Pleo', the animatronic Apatosaurus will respond to the vocal intonations of its owners. It won't be able to understand vocal commands; instead, its mood will be dictated by the tone of voice used at it. A terse tone can result in a depressed dino. From the article: "Ugobe will try to go beyond selling a walking/talking toy. The company will publish a developers' kit and open its source code, making the Pleo something of a cousin to the Lego Mindstorms kits or the old Radio Shack 64-in-1 electronics kits. Consumers thus will be able to download 'personality modules' and see how their Pleos react to different stimuli ... Ultimately, the company may license the technology so others can build or incorporate robots into their own products. 'We've created a toolset for making lifelike robots,' Ugobe CEO Bob Christopher said."