My (robot) cat

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My (robot) cat
10 months ago

Just before I went to Tokyo in 2008, I had read a few stories about robot cats for sale in Japan made by Sega Toys. In the U.S. they were characterized as creepy, but in Japan robotic pets are considered a benefit to the psychological well-being of elderly who are alone and may not be able to keep a real pet.

I wanted one as a souvenir, but also to see if it freaked out our dog. When I saw it in person, I was surprised at how good the simulation was - meowing, purring, moving its tail, blinking it eyes. This was going to be funny, I just hoped the dog didn't tear it apart.

After lugging it all the way back, I set it up on the ground and switched it on... but the joke was on me. The dog looked at it for a moment without even taking a sniff, then turned away like it was just another piece of furniture. Somebody was a fool, but not him.

So I brought it to the office, where the humans found it tremendously entertaining. This android is called Yume Neko Dream Cat Smile and it's still working fine. Eventually it went on sale in the U.S. under a different brand, but I think it's no longer available. Here's a pic, plus a few from the trip I took with a K20D + 21mm Ltd, and one with a Ricoh compact.

mother with exhausted kid in shinjuku

crepe stand in roppongi hills

big guy cutting fish at tsukiji market

woman photographing her dachshunds, odaiba

tokyo metro at rush hour

Pentax K20D
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