Official Launch of PLEO – The Robotic Wonder Pet

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

PLEO was launched earlier this week here in Kuala Lumpur, specifically on 24th November 2008, at the Westin KL’s Grand Ballroom.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

  • Significant Processing Power
  • Two 32-bit Microprocessors – central and image processing
  • Four 8-bit Subprocessors – motor control
  • Highly Articulated Movement
  • 14 Motors
  • Over 100 Custom-Designed Gears
  • Complex Sensory Network
  • Infrared and camera-based vision system – object and color detection and navigation
  • Two Microphones – binaural hearing
  • Eight Skin Sensors – head, chin, shoulders, back, legs
  • Four Foot Switches – surface detection
  • 14 Force-feedback sensors – one per joint
  • Orientation Tilt Sensor – body position
  • Infrared Mouth Sensor – food detection
  • Multiple Data Ports
  • Mini USBâ„¢ port – online downloads
  • SDâ„¢ card slot – Pleo add-ons
  • Infrared transceiver
  • High-Quality Sound
  • Two Speakers – 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.

The Event

Now back to the event, the attendees were introduced to PLEO by Dixon Chew, the Group Managing Director, Pensonic Holdings Bhd.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Dixon Chew

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.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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. 😛

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Modern Caveman!

After the fiery act, PLEO made it’s way up the platform!

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Then of course, we had Amber Chia being one of the many people that walked out on stage with a PLEO in their arm……

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Amber Chia

And of course our usual group photo…..

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Group Photo

There were also PLEOs placed on the display / demo platform.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

And here’s a photo of me (ok, my hand!) stroking the chin of a PLEO unit.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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!

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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. 😛

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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.

Official Launch of PLEO - The Robotic Wonder Pet

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.

11 thoughts on “Official Launch of PLEO – The Robotic Wonder Pet

  1. Whoa, way cool. Of course, my real dog will just demolish it if I buy one.

    You need some stats to know how well it’d do too. What’s its top speed? Can it walk up inclines, how steep? Can it navigate small changes in elevation? How long does a single battery charge enable it to go? Can it mount rockets?

  2. @WKY – you see the video you can estimate the walking speed. basically it can’t save it self from a hamster. walking up inclines? the feet is actually plastic with some panel that look like pressure sensor or something, so the traction isn’t exactly good.

    as for rockets, I think it’s highly possible for you to mount fireworks so long as it doesn’t explode on it or burn the skin…….. but i think that part you watch too much cartoon. 😀

    oh yeah and i forgot to add in the article – it’s awake based on NiMH battery that lasts for about 1.5 hrs.

    @joshua – I didn’t get one. 🙂

    @Apam – T-rex and Velociraptor would be hard to balance i think, considering those are 2 legged dinos that move at fast speed………. and they won’t be eating leaf! 😛

  3. Hey, I saw that actor from those Malaysian Chinese dramas in the group photo!!!

    Anyway, I don’t think PLEO would be good enough for a pet. Sure, it will keep kids entertained for a few months or maybe a year or two, but I don’t see why an average adult would get it. =_=”

    No offense really.

  4. @xcen – yes, he’s an actor. And I agree it won’t be good enough as pet. Just partial pet, good for kids perhaps.

    @ahmike – thanks. 🙂 it’s cheaper than a dog i suppose, where puppies could cost quite a bomb.

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