I have been waiting a very long time for someone to make a worthy successor to the Sony Aibo which was discontinued in 2005. It really looks like WowWee has done it with CHiPK9, billed as the “World’s First Lovable Robot Dog”.
It won’t be released until the fall of 2016 and will set you back about $200, although you’ve got a couple days to pre-order at a discount. The rep in one of the videos said it was going to be $199, but the pre-order site says the $199 saves you 23%. My guess is that the extra wristband and ball are additional accessories that come with the pre-order.
WowWee has incorporated some features that really peaked my interest:
- Speed: This thing is FAST and even goes sideways. It’s actually fast enough to catch a fast rolling ball and send it back!
- It has sensors that allows it to avoid obstacles. All of the demos were on a smooth floor, so I’m wondering how well it will do on carpet or on changing surfaces. The wheels have nubs so hopefully they have thought of this.
- No manual charging. The thing will automatically return to its “bed” for charging.
- It will follow you around. This does require you to have the wristband on, but how else could they do it (cheaply).
- The set up is done via an iOS or Android app
Admittedly, the Sony Aibo did a lot more than what has been demonstrated for the CHiPK9 (so far), but the speed of the CHiPK9 is what really sets it apart and makes it much much closer to a real K9. Also, the Aibo costed like $1,500!
I’m excited enough about the CHiPK9 to pony up for the pre-order. I’ve waited this long. Guess I can wait another year for it to be delivered.