Qoobo may be the perfect cat.
It’s soft, responsive, and will never scratch, dismiss, or leave you. It’s also a robot.
Qoobo, which was unveiled this week by Yukai Engineering Co., Ltd. at the CEATAC trade show in Japan is only marginally a cat. Its wagging feline tail is attached to a 2-pound ball of fur. There’s no purring face, no head or whiskers, no legs, feet, or claws. The name is a combination of the French word for “tail” and “robot.”
The plush toy rests in your lap (what choices does it have?) and responds when you pet it. Different types of strokes or pats will generate different, yet, fairly realistic, tail wags and haptic responses. In addition to the tail movement, the round, cushion body can deliver a vibration response.
Unlike a real cat where you have to intuit what its tail movements might mean, this tail is all positive vibes. Theoretically, the more you stroke Qoobo the more it responds, the better you feel. Who cares how Qoobo feels? (It feels nothing.)
According to a translated release on Qoobo, the developers zeroed in on the healing qualities of a docile pet resting in your lap and their wagging cat and dog tails. “In development, we stuck to the good feeling of weight, size feeling and pleasant feeling when stroking when putting on and lifting on the knee. In addition, we have studied the actual tail and developed mechanisms and programs to reproduce the movement,” the company said in a statement.
Japan has a particularly long history of selling therapy bots, including Paro the Therapeutic Seal Pup. At least that therapeutic robot has a face.
Qoobo is roughly a foot in diameter and comes in “Husky Gray” or “French Brown.” It should ship sometime next year. Pricing has not been set.
Sure, it’s little more than a a fur pillow with an animation tail, but just think of all the money you’ll save on cat food, kitty litter, and cat therapist.