The dinosaur robot is one of the many robotic pets out there: dogs, furbies, Nao and many more. But in my opinion the Pleo robot seems to be the best you can offer to your kids.
It works out of the box and has many possible interactions that make it a very advanced doll and a good pet for the kid. Plus, you can also use it as a learning tool by programming it yourself to add endless possibilities.
Let's see what this robot has to offer. I also present another similar robot: the Little Inu is like a mini-Pleo that is both simpler and cheaper, but still offers a good playing experience.
You can see what it wants!
Imagine 12+ different sensors in toy about 30cm long. That's the technology concentration you will find in the Pleo Dinosaur Robot.
Now, you don't really care about how many sensors it have: you want to know what it does with them. This robot features dozens of interactive behaviors that you can trigger naturally.
Here are a few examples:
I tested it in a shop (I don't have one myself), and it really feels natural to play with, explore its reactions and watch it move. I should have checked the official website though to learn a few tricks and test them out.
I don't know if you had little plastic dinosaurs when you were kids, but I had some. I spent hundreds of hours creating stories with them and playing around. I think this Pleo dinosaur robot really has the potential to enhance the kids' experience with their toys.
Just like a cat, he likes gentle strokes.
Another cool thing with the Pleo robot is that you have official support to totally hack it and create your own behaviors and moves. Want to teach your robot to eat meat? Program it!
I can see many use for that: with the many sensors it can be a great platform for programming your robot without having to build it from scratch. It also has an SDK to make it simple to create your very own robotic pet. Note however that it moves really slowly, so it's not really a mobile platform.
Another one is if you know your way around programming and want to teach your teenage kid. This can be a very good way to make him learn a lot while having fun. Plus the fact of seeing direct physical results while you program is great motivating factor.
So, when do you get your own Pleo robot?
If you think that Pleo is too expensive for what you need, you can try the Little Inu dinosaur robot.
The Little Inu is smaller, has less sensors (only about 5-6), and less diversity, but it may be enough for you and your kids.
It is already an advanced robotic doll that will surely encourage your kid's imagination, and would go well with other dinosaur dolls. You can check out this official presentation of Little Inu and see what it can do.
If you can find my list of top 10 robotic pets if you want a larger choice.