Vivid scores a first with robotic toy that can ‘grow’

Toy company Vivid Imaginations and manufacturer Ugobe are gearing up for the launch of an interactive robotic dinosaur, which will be marketed as the world’s first “designer Life Form”.

The Pleo, which will be launched in June, will be able to interact with its owner and will grow up with them.

It will be aimed at children aged eight years and over, and will cost about £250. It is expected to be one of this year’s must-have toys.

It will be backed by a major marketing push including a television campaign around the Christmas period.

Pleo has been in development for three years and replicates a one-week old infant Camarasaurus from the late Jurassic period. It advances through life stages and develops a personality through user interaction. If owners treat him well, he will grow to be friendly and outgoing. If they treat him badly he becomes timid or aggressive.

Pleo explores his environment and learns as he “grows”. He is capable of displaying emotions such as joy, aggression, sorrow and fear. The toy can also yawn, sigh, sniff, snore, cough, hiccup and sneeze. At first, Pleo walks around to get used to his surroundings but may cry if frightened or scared. He can also stretch when waking up and stomp his foot when angry.

Ugobe founder and Pleo inventor Caleb Chung, who was also a co-creator of the Furby, says: “Pleo is the first truly autonomous life form capable of emotions that allow personal engagement.”

Ugobe has likened its business to Pixar, saying that Ugobe will create lifelike characters with robotics, jut as Pixar does with CGI.

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