Forget Fido, cuddly 'Lovot' promises to be high-tech pet replacement

The Japan Times 

Experience life with an endearing, big-eyed robot with lifelike features -- including artificial body temperature and affectionate personality -- that is being marketed as an alternative to pet ownership in Japan. At an event for families that kicked off Tuesday, several Lovot robots developed by Tokyo-based venture Groove X Inc. frolicked with visitors to the EQ House facility in Tokyo's Roppongi district. Upon entering the exhibition room, one of the 43-cm robots wheeled over to reporters and flapped its arms, beckoning to be held. Just like pets, the Lovot (yes, a combination of love and robot) develops a varying degree of attachment to people depending on the amount of care provided, such as gentle stroking or a hug. Once administered, the Lovot will in turn follow people around and beg for physical contact as a sign of affection, though it will stay away from those who treat it violently, Groove X officials say.