Technology

Panasonic intros Nicobo robot cat companion, and it’s so kawaii we can’t cope

Panasonic has released a robot cat in Japan, called Nicobo, that winks, wags its tail and makes farting noises. Actually, it looks more like a cat-blowfish hybrid, but for sheer weird cuteness it’s difficult to beat. The gizmo is intended to be a companion, a wellness aid to those without access to a real life moggy.

The cat-bot has been developed in association with the Technology Michio Oka Laboratory. 

Nicobo rotates left and right, but doesn’t require a daily walk. A light sensor prompts it to snooze in sunlight, much like the real thing.

Touch sensors allow it to respond to touches and hugs, while built-in multidirectional microphones allow it to respond to conversation. It also has a camera for facial recognition.

Nicobo rotates left and right, but doesn’t require a daily walk. A light sensor prompts it to snooze in sunlight, much like the real thing…

Nicobo is a limited edition, with only 320 units produced in Japan. Priced around £300, it comes with a monthly subscription on top, but don’t expect to buy one. Every model has been presold. 

This isn’t the first time an electronics major has toyed with the idea of robotic companions.

Several years ago, Sony relaunched Aibo, its futuristic robot pooch. The original Aibo, hailed as the world first Entertainment Robot, first appeared in 1999. In 2019, Aibo starred in an exhibition celebrating robotics and AI, entitled Affinity in Autonomy, as part of Milan Design Week.

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