There are few quests in tech as eternal and frustrating as the race to build a respectable robot dog.
The prospect of a portable pooch with all the loveable personality of an actual hound without all of the 'organic' inconvenience of actually owning an animal appeals to many.
But attempts to build an actual android animal have fallen woefully short of the mark.
Now Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy has re-entered the race, six years after the previous market-leading cyborg canine Aibo was discontinued.
The Omnibot I-SODOG ($400) can walk around, dance to music, respond to 50 voice commands and even eat food that you give it via your mobile phone.
The dog also has a guard dog feature, meaning you can leave it to defend your wallet and it will bark if someone tries to take it.
Owners can build motion routes with the included controller, or move it about via their phones and tablets.
It will learn to change its behaviour over time, and touch sensitive areas on its head and back allow you to stroke it, and for the robot to respond.
It can also interact with other i-SODOGs via a sensor in its nose.
In a neat twist, you'll be able to 'upload' the dog to your phone, so you can take it to work and pet it while leaving its frozen, soulless robotic body at home.
Unfortunately the dog won't be in stores (in Japan) until 2013.
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