Sometimes, when I wake up of a morning, before I even reach for the coffee I check on how Richard Attenborough is doing in his makeshift laboratory in the cupboard under my sink. "How are you doing, Richard Attenborough?" I ask, nudging him with my foot. "Please let me go, I'm just an actor, you have to believe me!" he replies, the cunning swine. I know that in reality he can breed me a whole theme-park full of dinosaurs and make me a millionaire. And then I have some cereal.
Until he reaches another breakthrough, I guess I'll have to make do with Ugobe's Pleo robotic dinosaur. The little green fellow has already generated quite a lot of hype, with Time, Inc. naming it one of their "Products of 2006", and as the 3rd February pre-order launch nears there's more information finding its way onto the internet.
PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff met with the Ugobe guys and spent some hands-on time with Pleo at CES this year, and the developments are impressive. Movement is smoother, the artificial skin is more flexible and tactile, and the way Pleo reacts to different stimuli has been made more complex so as to make him appear even more lifelike.