After watching an old Janet Jackson video (don’t ask; it’s a long and winding road that brought me here), I’m remembering how fascinated I was when this first came out in 2000. This is how we’d pictured the new millennium, and somewhere, just across the ocean, there were people were actually living this way? The tricked-out Japanese apartment was cool, but it’s all about that instantly-covetable robotic dog wandering through it. This was the AIBO (short for Artificial Intelligence roBOt, which is kind of stretching things, acronym-wise).

A few years later, Beck came out with a video featuring dancing robots. They were on loan to him from Sony in Japan and were, at the time, the only four of these robots in the world. Dubbed the QRIO (short, somehow, for Quest for cuRIOsity – yes, again, your guess is as good as mine) and also known as the Sony Dream Robot (or SDR for short, and how are you supposed to keep track of all these names, pick one and stick to it is what I say), they’re intriguing to watch but apparently not enough to produce for the marketplace as Grand Plans for the QRIO/SDR have been put on hold.

In the meantime, there’s always the PLEN. A robot who skates pulls a little more weight in my opinion anyway.

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