Where are they now: Pleo the Dinosaur

Where are they now: Pleo the Dinosaur

He’s baaaaacck! Pleo, the long-hyped, short-lived robotic baby dino is back on the market. Robert Oschler, of RobotsRule, has posted a piece, The Inside Story Behind Pleo’s Rise, Fall, and Resurrection, that includes an interview with Derek Dotson, one of the founders of Ugobe, and now the CEO of Innvo Labs, the company that acquired the rights to Pleo.

RO: Are there plans for any new accessories or new Pleo models?

DD: I can talk about the 2010 Pleo model. That model will look the same as Pleo does now except it will have a new paint job and eye color to differentiate it from the current Pleos. Over the coming year we intend to give Pleo more depth to his personality and utilize the sensors better. For example, Pleo doesn’t do a whole lot with the camera in his nose right now. It’s not the hardware since the camera is a good quality camera. However there’s a lot of room for improvement in the software. An example of a specific feature people want badly is getting Pleo to come to you. The 2010 model will do that. Also, Pleo uses power more efficiently which will lead to longer play times. To make Pleo more realistic, Pleo will develop certain character biases at birth so that everyone’s Pleo will be different. As for the sensors, the reason why they are currently underutilized is due to a bottleneck in the serial bus that connects them to Pleo’s processor resources. That’s something we can fix without drastically altering Pleo’s architecture. Once that happens, we can do more with them when it comes to Pleo’s hearing, vision, etc. Beyond 2010 there will certainly be new creatures other than baby robot dinosaurs.

From MAKE magazine:

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In MAKE, Volume 19: Robots, Rovers, and Drones, learn how to make a model plane with an autopilot and a built-in robot brain. We’ll also show you how to make a comfortable chair and footstool out of a single sheet of plywood, a bicyclist’s vest that shows how fast you’re going, and projects that introduce you to servomotors. All this, and lots more, in MAKE, Volume 19! Subscribe here. Buy the issue in the Maker Shed.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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