Omron has a pet robot for cat lovers
By Kuriko Miyake
(IDG) -- Problem: You want to own a pet robot, but you're a cat person and most available entertainment pet robots, such as Sony's Aibo, are dog-like.
Now, Japanese electronic component maker Omron has an answer: A cat-like entertainment robot that looks furry and real, and responds to its owner, the company has announced.
The Necoro robot, which comes in two colors, is covered with artificial fur. Necoro is equipped with sensors on its head, chin, cheek and back, to sense when it's touched. It also has voice recognition and visual recognition systems, and contains an acceleration sensor which detects its own posture, according to a company statement.
"By patting, holding and talking to the robot, users can communicate with the robot," said Tadashi Katsuno, a spokesman for Omron.
The company developed a programmed system called Mac (mind and consciousness) that gives a robot abilities to learn and build emotions, the statement said.
Necoro cannot walk around but its body's 15 joints allow it to sit down and stand up naturally. Via a built-in speaker, it makes 48 different mews. A rechargeable battery lasts up to 90 minutes.
A limited number of 5,000 robots will be on sale on November 20 at 185,000 yen (US$1,526), available for order only by telephone or Internet within Japan, Katsuno said.
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