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Sunday, June 24, 2007

 

Pleo World Forums


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Hey fellow Pleo fans. In a previous message I told you about Pleo World, Ugobe's official community site for Pleo owners and fans. The forums are starting to get busy and we're having a lot of fun over there. Please stop by the Pleo World forums and join in. I'm over there a lot and it would be great to chat with you.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

 

Pleo Preorders and Community Site Announced!


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Just minutes ago today, ShiftComm, Ugobe's publicity arm released a press release announcing the start of Pleo preorders for the USA. The press release declared the following important items:
In tandem with that major announcement came the unveiling of the official Ugobe user community site, Pleo World. At the site, Pleo owners can:

The wait is almost over everyone. You can read the full text of the press release and also check for the latest places to buy Pleo.



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Monday, June 18, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur - battery life


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Pleo's battery will last about 2 to 3 years. Initially this meant that at the end of that period, your Pleo would cease to be. This caused may people turmoil as they imagined their deep future sadness over the thought of losing their very special dino buddy. In their usual responsive and thoughtful style, Ugobe delayed Pleo and redesigned him to have a replaceable battery. So now, when you get your tiny dinosaur pet home to play, you can count on having his friendship for many years to come. As far as daily battery use is concerned, current estimates indicate that Pleo will stay awake for 2 to 4 hours before he needs a nap in his recharging bed. He's just a baby after all!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

 

Important : Sign Up For The Ugobe E-Mail list now!


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Here is a special news flash for my readers. Ugobe recently sent out an E-mail saying that next week there will be an important announcement concerning a special opportunity for their mailing list subscribers. If you have not signed up for Ugobe's mailing list yet I strongly suggest that you do it now. Make certain you whitelist their E-mail address with your ISP to make sure that the E-mail that contains the announcment doesn't get stuck by mistake in your E-mail providers spam traps. I'll talk with you next week. That's when the real fun begins!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur - The Nose Camera


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Just a clarification. There have been rumors circulating the web that Pleo has a camera in his nose and that he can recognize faces with it. He does have a camera in his nose, but when I last contacted ShiftComm, Ugobe's talented public relations agency, they told me that he can not recognize faces with it. It is used to help Pleo get a feel of his surroundings, but not to identify a particular person's face.

Pleo is an amazing achievement in advanced robotics and computing technology. He can do many things like learn, sleep, and dream (in his own pet baby dino way). But make sure you check out any claims you hear about what the clever little dino can do for technical accuracy.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

 

Buy Pleo?


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

There have been several sightings of Pleo being offered for sale or preorder on the Internet at various web sites. At this time you need to ignore those offers for sale. At this time Ugobe has told me that Pleo is not available for preorder. They will make a formal announcement when he is. I suggest that if you are about to buy or preorder a Pleo at this time, send an E-mail off to Ugobe or myself to verify that the outlet offering Pleo is correct in their offer. If you do find an offer that turns out to be invalid please remember that it is probably just an overly enthusiastic distributor, not something malicious.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur - Beauty is skin deep, and deeper!


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Pleo is a product of love. I know that statement sounds purely sentimental, but it isn't. Pleo's creator is Caleb Chung. He made a small fortune off his previous invention the Furby; a hit product that sold over 40 million units world wide (I have 7 of them)! He is bringing Pleo into the world because his desire to share a little real magic is more powerful than his desire to rest or take a permanent life vacation. Caleb doesn't need the money, but he does need desperately to bring his tiny green cuddly dream into being. Caleb doesn't want to bring Pleo into the world, he has to and won't rest until he does. Instead of Pleo's release date being driven purely by profit and dry engineering goals, it's driven by one man's relentless imagination and creativity. Which is why Pleo has been delayed until he is truly ready for your home.

Metal Gears, Not Plastic

Pleo has been delayed several times because Ugobe refuses to create anything less than a breathtaking heart melting little buddy that will brighten your home and enrich your days. One example of this is Pleo's gears. Instead of using the significantly less expensive plastic ones, Ugobe chose to use metal gears, which are much quieter. I was amazed when I saw Pleo in Eagle, Idaho last April 2007, at just how quiet they were.

Beautifully Scultped Skin

Another reason for the delays was the perfecting of Pleo's skin. Ugobe not only wanted it to be soft and cuddly, they want it to look real. So they decided to redesign it to give the impression of an underlying musculature. The skin of any animal not only covers it but is also a reflection of the bone and muscle underneath it. Anything short of that just isn't realistic and isn't good enough for Ugobe.

Big Beautiful Blue Eyes

Finally, an incredible amount of work went into making Pleo's big blue eyes as lifelike as possible, and many redesigns took place making them as perfect as they can be.

It is this attention to detail that will make Pleo hold a permanent special place in your heart and home.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

 

Does Pleo dream of electric sheep?


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Does Pleo dream? Yes! When Pleo's battery pack runs low he gets tired and will then rest in his recharging bed. Unlike other artificial pets, Pleo will think about his day and change in response to what he experienced and how you played with him. Pleo has a tremendous amount of data that he gets from sensors that not only receive stimulus from the outside world, but from his own internal world as well. Sensors that tell him if any part his body is being touched or hurt, if he is upside down or not, and even how much energy is using trying to walk across you floor. Just like us, he needs some peaceful time to process all that information and figure out how to be a better Pleo and face the next day in new and clever ways.

Does he chase tiny butterflies in his dreams and chew happily on an infinite supply of tasty leaves with plenty of other Pleos to play with? Only Pleo will know for sure, but I think he does and I bet you will too!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

 

Pleo's Personality - Intriguing, fun, and adaptive


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Pleo will exhibit many truly extraordinary behavioral traits that will endear him to you. The two main ways Pleo will change over time will come about through his interactions with his environment and by interacting with you, just like a real pet.

Here's an example of how Pleo will adapt to his environment. If Pleo finds out that you have really high shag carpet and that he is getting tired too fast by walking on it, he will adjust his gait to save energy. When it comes to interacting with you, Pleo will remember what you do with him and will change in a natural manner that make sense for a little baby dino. If you twist his leg, Pleo will limp for a while and remember you did that to him. If you're not careful, you could end up with a very sullen baby Camarasaurus! On the other hand, if you turn him upside down a lot and reward him without hurting him, he will come to like it and get happy when you turn him skyward.

Unlike pretty much every other robot or artificial life form you may have encountered, Pleo's behavior is not scripted. There is no simple list of "If this, then do this, then this..." rules in his head. Pleo has drives and desires; like hunger, the need to rest at times, and to play. These drives when combined with what Pleo is sensing from his surroundings, interact in very complex ways to determine what Pleo decides to do next or in how he reacts to you and his environment. It it this adaptability and realism that will make Pleo hold a very special place in your home and your heart.



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Saturday, June 9, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur - Herd Behavior


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Pleo will not only be a really smart baby dinosaur, but he will also be a very social dino too. Pleo will interact with other Pleos using infrared signals. This group behavior or herd technology will allow a group of Pleos to do some really fun things when they come in contact with each other. First, the group will converse and appoint one of the Pleos to be the alpha leader. The alpha leader can then share tricks he has learned while living with you and interacting with you, with the other Pleos in the group. The little Pleos can even catch a cold from each other. So if your Pleo is sneezing, other Pleos that come in contact with him might start sneezing too!

A little bit of fun today. Below is a video taken at
the sculpture museum in Hakone, Japan. It shows giant animatronic dinosaurs moving, roaring, and entertaining the crowd of museum patrons that came to see them.



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Friday, June 8, 2007

 

Ugobe Pleo - John Sosoka, Chief Technology Officer (CTO)


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.


Ugobe Management Team Spotlight: John Sosoka

John Sosoka is Ugobe' Chief Technology Officer (CTO). You can see him to the left of Pleo in the photo above. John is an extremely talented engineer and programmer who has a history of guiding the creation of blockbuster selling toys; especially toys that are advanced or educational in nature. Before coming to Ugobe he was CTO for the award winning educational toy manufacturer Neurosmith.

When I met with him as part of my April 2007 meeting with Ugobe, I was amazed at his ability to go from deep thought to easy conversation in the blink of an eye. He is one of those people that easily juggles multiple complex problems in his head, a critical skill in overseeing the growth and development of company that is manufacturing one of the most advanced and lifelike robots the world has ever seen.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur Video Gallery Is Up!


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

We just added a dynamic Pleo video gallery that finds the latest Pleo videos on YouTube. Bookmark the page and check back periodically for new videos. Some of the videos, like a few from PC Magazine, don't have sound so don't bother trying to turn your speakers up! There are videos from a while back too so you can see Pleo with his old skin and compare it to his softer more cuddly new skin. For an example of one of the newer videos that show his new softer skin, you can see the video I made of Pleo after meeting with Ugobe last April (April 2007). I had a great time and Pleo was as adorable and expressive as can be.

Note: videos will probably slowly trickle in since Pleo has not been released yet. As his release date approaches you expect there to be more videos made as Ugobe shows their new darling off to the press on media tours. Therefore, don't be surprised if the video gallery doesn't update very often right now.



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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

 

Everyone loves Pleo!


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Photo courtesy of and copyright 2007, askelad

As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Above is a fun little photo take by Flickr user askelad from the 2007 AAAS show (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Even without his clothes Pleo shows tons of cuddly personalilty. It almost appears as if the two Pleos in the photo are amiably chatting about something of great interest to baby dinosaurs. Even at this distance you can see the rich blue of the fully clothed Pleo's great big eyes. The wires coming out of his stomach indicates that he's a prototype and since he wears the new skin, he's a newer one at that. On the left is John Sosoka, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Ugobe. There are no wires coming out of him as far as we can tell.



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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur - A note about customization


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Ugobe has stated on more than one occasion that they plan to provide a developer's kit for modifying or hacking Pleo, at some point in the future. This will be great news for all the hardware hackers out there that will want to turn Pleo into their own unique flavor of dinosaur robot. Caleb Chung, Ugobe's founder and lead inventor, has indicated that they want Pleo to not only be a best selling artificial pet, but a platform for the creativity of other developers to harness. Chris Taylor, in his Future Boy blog, reaffirms this plan for Pleo's hackability in a quote from Caleb that came from an interview he had with him at the Churchill club. He cites Caleb has stating:

"There is a huge community that wants to repurpose Pleo. They’ll be able to adjust his personality, even make him bipolar. For Pleo, emotions are a second-order control system. "
I will report on any further Pleo related news pieces that pop up in Chris Taylor's blog. Check out his blog yourself, especially if you like reading entertaining and well written tech blogs.

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Pleo - The baby Camarasaurus dinosaur


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

Pleo is modeled after a one week old baby Camarasaurus, a gentle plant eating dinosaur from the late Jurassic period. Ugobe used data from fossil records and other scientific techniques to create a detailed model of a how a real Camarasaurus would move and behave. When you see Pleo move you cannot help but be hypnotized by the baby dino's fluid and natural body movements; all of this is the result of Ugobe's commitment to detail and realism.

On a more practical technical note, the ample room proved by the chubby stout body of a baby Camarasaurus makes it a good home for the large amount of sensors and electronics a sophisticated artificial pet like Pleo needs. It is interesting to note that the Camarasaurus had an enlargement of the spinal cord that may have been the site of a second auxiliary brain to help run the huge adult body. An adult Pleo could reach a hefty size of
18 metres (60 feet) in length and weigh up to 19.8 tons. I'm sure nature would pleased to know that this same extra trunk space would come in handy for all technological wonders that packUgobe's lovable little creation.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur! - Capacitive touch sensors


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As we await the arrival of Pleo and work on getting the portal ready for you, I will update this blog regularly with interesting bits about Pleo.

The vast majority of artificial pets and toy robots that you played with rely on common switches to create the illusion of touch. Even if the switch is covered by a layer of fur or fake skin, you can tell it is a switch by the amount of force you have to use to push on the skin, to get a reaction.

Pleo uses a radically different technology which gives it the same characteristics as a organic pet when responding to touch. Instead of switches Pleo uses capacitive touch sensors placed beneath the dino's skin. These sensors can detect the faint electric charge that people carry on them. That is why you can stroke Pleo lightly like a cat or dog instead of pressing down on him like a button. When I met with Caleb Chung and Ugobe in out meeting in April 2007, he told me you could even tune the sensors to detect the presence of the human hand even if it was a slightly above the skin; without it making any contact at all. As he pointed out, this would be a little weird so Pleo's sensors are tuned to a more natural level of response.

Just one more reason that you are going to love this little baby dino.

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

 

Pleo Dinosaur! Announcing our upcoming portal for the Ugobe Pleo robot.


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Very soon we will be unveiling our new portal dedicated to Pleo, the cuddly green baby dinosaur invented by Ugobe. There will be forums, games, tools, and a wealth of useful information on Pleo including coverage of the people behind Pleo and its amazing technology. In the meantime, this blog will keep you updated on the status of the portal. We are not ready to announce a formal "go live" date, but it is soon. If you want to be notified when the portal is ready, then subscribe to the Pleo Dinosaur! newsletter using the subscription box at the top of this page.

Pleo is poised to change the way people think about robots and artificial life forms in a major way. As millions of the little baby Camarasauri begin to find homes across the world, they will shape our feelings about pets and technology into bold new patterns as we learn to bond emotionally with them. However at the center of this social phenomenon to be is still people and people like to get together and meet. I hope that you will find Pleo Dinosaur! the friendly place that you as a future Pleo owner decide to make your new meeting place.

Thanks for stopping by!

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