The 10 Best Robot Dogs
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Whether you're looking for a toy to spark a child's imagination or something to comfort an elderly family member in their golden years, these interactive robot dogs will provide the companionship and entertainment associated with owning a real puppy, but without the fuss of predawn walks or potty training accidents. Always keep a close eye on your little ones to ensure a safe playtime. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best robot dog on Amazon.
June 26, 2019:
One of the major values this category has going for it is the eclectic nature of the available products. Anything from programmable robots to soft, cuddly pups designed to comfort an aging loved one is fair game. While I'd say a majority of the items are generally marketed for use by children, I also come to think of this as a topic from which anyone who's a dog lover can benefit. Additionally, while many of our picks can be used as standalone substitutes for a real puppy, I also think they can offer a "preparatory" solution for families who are considering getting a live puppy someday, too. The genius behind many of these toys is that they can teach both young and old about responsibility, while the learning aspect of the toys will serve to develop a growing child's motor skills and ability to communicate.
I added the Joy For All Golden Pup as a high-ranking option due to its lifelike appearance, soft coat, and addition of a gentle heartbeat. The WowWee Chippo comes in a striking black and yellow color combination with an adaptive personality complete with barks, sniffs, and sneezes. I also like the fact that it can be programmed to explore and guard a child's bedroom. I thought the Contixo Smart Puppy was a great addition to the list, thanks to a built-in Bluetooth speaker as well as its ability to sing and dance in rhythm. It also has an infrared motion sensor and voice recognition software. Maintained the FurReal Get Up And GoGo for its ability to walk and follow on leash. For those kids who are fans of the Paw Patrol, the Zoomer Marshall has plenty of exciting activities to keep little ones busy for hours. The spring-loaded water cannon is a nice addition to the toy as well. I also maintained the Robotis Play 600, as it caters to children who are a bit older and able to comprehend STEM learning concepts. I added the Sharper Image Duke, as I thought this was a pretty cool high-tech option, as its LED eyes change color according to its mood, while the smart bone can be used to reveal a child's secrets. Although the VTech Pull and Sing is simplistic in its design, it's available at a very affordable price and can easily teach young children how to recognize colors and numbers. Finally, maintained the Liberty Imports Bump & Go for its ability to change directions upon colliding with an object and its design for withstanding rough play.
How Robots Work
Some of the models designed for children are a little more playful and will dance if their human counterpart starts dancing or start barking if the child begins to sing.
Smart robots also feature some kind of sensory system responsible for gathering data.
Despite the obvious differences, robots and humans actually have similar components. In the most basic sense, humans have five major elements: a body, a muscle system to move the body, a sensory system for receiving information, a power source that activates the systems, and a brain to process information and send commands to the body parts.
Looking at how robots are built, we can see a similar system in action. Every kind of smart robot needs a minimum of five of these basic components to function. Whatever the shape may be, robots have some form of a body or structure. They also have motors to power the body's movement, which can be equated to the muscles of a human.
Smart robots also feature some kind of sensory system responsible for gathering data. This is often a combination of sensors and cameras. There needs to be a power source of some kind as well. In robots, this is often a battery, whereas in humans it can be considered the heart. And finally, there is a brain, or in the case of robots a microchip processor to control all of the components.
When all of these components are incorporated into a robotic dog, we wind up with a futuristic four-legged companion that can learn from us, react to its surroundings, and even develop some form of personality. Most robotic dogs have sensors that allow them to react to a person's hand gestures and voice commands. Depending on the model, you may be able to tell the robotic dog to sit and it will perform the command just like a real dog. Others may perform tricks like back flips and rolling over at the wave of its owner's hand. Some of the models designed for children are a little more playful and will dance if their human counterpart starts dancing or start barking if the child begins to sing.
Many robotic dogs also have sensors that allow them to respond to touch. Their tail may start wagging or their eyes may open up wider when being pet. Just like a real dog, most robotic dogs use their eyes and body language to communicate their mood. If sad, they may move a little slower and slump down. When tired, their eyes will often be half closed. The models that have integrated microphones respond to being called and will come running, or rolling, up when their name is called or their owner walks into the home.
Robotic Pets And The Elderly
A number of universities have been conducting studies into how humans and robots interact with each other. There is a growing base of evidence that supports robotic pets being better companions for the elderly than live pets. Caring for a live pet can be extremely difficult for an elderly person, yet many still need the companionship that a pet can offer. It has been known for decades that elderly people with pets live longer, and it seems robotic pets may offer many of these benefits.
An example can be seen from a recent experiment at an elderly care home in Brisbane, Australia.
An example can be seen from a recent experiment at an elderly care home in Brisbane, Australia. Thomas, an 82 year old man who suffered from dementia, made notable improvements after interacting with a robotic seal named PARO. He spent time holding and cuddling with the robotic canine as it nuzzled his chin. When his session was over, Thomas spoke for the first time in years, saying "Goodbye, PARO."
He is not the only elderly person to respond well to a robotic pet. PARO is now being used in many old folks homes around the world as is considered a medical care device. It has been observed that many elderly people are more engaged with PARO than dogs and other animals brought into the care facilities.
Another study by Saint Louis University found that there was almost no difference in how elderly people responded to a robotic dog named AIBO as they did to a live dog. After two months comparing people who spent time playing with AIBO and those who played with a live dog, the study concluded that the attachments formed with AIBO were just as strong as those formed with the live dog.
Will Robotic Pets Replace Real Pets?
As the world becomes more overpopulated and space in many cities around the world becomes an issue, some scientists believe that owning a real pet may become a luxury that few can afford. Increasing urbanization is causing many people to live in small homes and apartments that would be unsuitable for a four-legged family member.
When much-loved Tamagotchis died, some people went as far as to hold actual funerals for them.
Examples of this can be seen in cities like Tokyo, where the average apartment is about 600 square feet or Hong Kong, where they are now selling apartments between 150 and 250 square feet for over $500,000.
We have already seen how attached people can become to robotic pets. In the mid-1990s, there was the Tamagotchi craze in Japan. The Tamagotchi was a small egg-shaped, handheld digital pet. Caring for the pet consisted of feeding it, cleaning up after digital poops, turning off the light when it slept, and more. If they weren't cared for properly, they would die. They would also eventually die of old age. When much-loved Tamagotchis died, some people went as far as to hold actual funerals for them.
Looking at this, robotic pets as the norm of the future doesn't seem so far fetched and could be a real possibility as caring for a live pet becomes too difficult because of space and social responsibilities.
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