PLEO was launched earlier this week here in Kuala Lumpur, specifically on 24th November 2008, at the Westin KL’s Grand Ballroom.
But before I address the launch, I think we should understand what is this unique product in further detail.
What is PLEO?
I bet you would’ve figured out that it’s a robotic pet by now!
Every Pleo is autonomous. Yes, each one begins life as a newly-hatched baby Camarasaurus, but that’s where predictability ends and individuality begins. Like any creature, Pleo feels hunger and fatigue – offset by powerful urges to explore and be nurtured. He’ll graze, nap and toddle about on his own -when he feels like it! Pleo dinosaur can change his mind and his mood, just as you do.
Source : PleoWorld
Ok, I must say that the paragraph taken directly from the site doesn’t say enough so let’s have a look at a video of PLEO in action to get to know PLEO better……
And what is a Camarasaurus? Sounded like a nickname for an old photographer or something but it really is a dinosaur and here’s a reference for your reading pleasure.
It is an Interactive Computer!
Despite being labelled as a pet, one can’t deny that whatever it was that PLEO is made up of certainly classify it as an Interactive Computer.
Here’s a few things I’d like to highlight about PLEO
- Significant Processing Power
- Two 32-bit Microprocessors â€“ central and image processing
- Four 8-bit Subprocessors â€“ motor control
- Highly Articulated Movement
- 14 Motors
- Over 100 Custom-Designed Gears
- Complex Sensory Network
- Infrared and camera-based vision system â€“ object and color detection and navigation
- Two Microphones â€“ binaural hearing
- Eight Skin Sensors â€“ head, chin, shoulders, back, legs
- Four Foot Switches â€“ surface detection
- 14 Force-feedback sensors â€“ one per joint
- Orientation Tilt Sensor â€“ body position
- Infrared Mouth Sensor â€“ food detection
- Multiple Data Ports
- Mini USBâ„¢ port â€“ online downloads
- SDâ„¢ card slot â€“ Pleo add-ons
- Infrared transceiver
- High-Quality Sound
- Two Speakers â€“ mouth and back
- Power Source
- Rechargeable and replaceable NiMH battery pack
Impressive? Kinda reminds you of your computer, doesn’t it? It’s just that you can’t interact with your computer the way you can with PLEO.
Now back to the event, the attendees were introduced to PLEO by Dixon Chew, the Group Managing Director, Pensonic Holdings Bhd.
It was a rather lengthy session as much was explained about PLEO, it’s origins and all other details of how it is attempts to be as an actual living creature by learning through interaction with the owner(s).
After the presention and the Q&A session, came the launch proper. The VIPs were up on stage, inserting the KEY to the event launch.
The lights dim and there came a caveman out of no where with a short act of fire-handling showmanship. Ironically, the flame-thrower caveman wears a spectacle. 😛
After the fiery act, PLEO made it’s way up the platform!
Then of course, we had Amber Chia being one of the many people that walked out on stage with a PLEO in their arm……
And of course our usual group photo…..
There were also PLEOs placed on the display / demo platform.
And here’s a photo of me (ok, my hand!) stroking the chin of a PLEO unit.
Yes, it was 1 hand on the toy and the other hand on my clickity-snap-snap toy.
Lookey here! We have a skinned PLEO too!
The event ended with a very satisfying buffet lunch.
My Thoughts on PLEO
Fancy getting one? It’s only RM 1,599 now, based on Pensonic’s promotion and it comes with 90-day warranty. The good thing about PLEO is that it doesn’t fall sick and you don’t have a commitment on feeding it like other living creatures. PLEOs is feeds on a single plastic leaf that comes along with the package. I did ask about what will happen if we ever deprive it from eating but it seems like there’s no answer for this as no one actually tried doing so.
There’s no need to send it for hair grooming, or obedience training. And if I’m not mistaken, you could even adjust the volume to ease your ear should you ever find it irritating.
Set it to OFF if you’re going away for quite a while, or you could bring along on your journey as it is certainly not an objectable item. 🙂 There’s no need to potty train, no worries of hygiene issue and so on so forth. If you have allergies to pets, then PLEO is probably a viable alternative……… unless of course your allergies are towards rubber or electronic devices. 😛
On the downside – it doesn’t behave like your average pet. DO NOT expect it to behave like a cat or a dog. It’s slow, it doesn’t walk up the staircase to look for you, it’s not something you would bring along for a walk around the housing area, nor guard the house or deal with pests. Come to think of it, it actually behaves like the dinosaurs you see on television.
One thing’s for sure, the makers made the right move choosing a dinosaur instead of a cat or a dog. Simply because if a cat or a dog was chosen, surely it’ll be subjected to a lot of comparison. Another negative point is that it’s activity time is based on a NiMH battery pack which lasts about 1.5 hours.
Bear in mind that the unique thing about PLEO is that it actually learns as it interacts with surround, and it’s because of this – you CANNOT RESET the PLEO once it’s hatched. 🙂 I certainly think that they should consider allowing a reset option, or else this pet is just not going to have any resale value. Basically the beauty of PLEO is that it develops its own ………ok, HIS own personality, moods and habits.
While Pensonic mentioned time and again that IT IS NOT A TOY and that we have to “own it to know”, I can’t help but feel that it is ultimately a toy. Surely it can’t be sold at the household appliances section along with blenders, toasters or vacuum cleaners. Right? Logically if you think of PLEO, you’d probably think of Toys’R’Us or some toy section of a departmental store.
Again, all the above are just my thoughts based on what I read, seen, experienced (a little) so far. Perhaps someone could loan me a unit for a better understanding of it. 🙂 Anyway, before we end this article – here’s a final video of PLEO from Pensonic Malaysia.
Do remember to check out Pleo Malaysia from Pensonic for more details about the PLEO.