Last year the NASA scientists at Wow Wee created the Robosapien. A pot plant-sized biped robot that roamed around entertaining while spending its time doing robot things.
Hoping to continue the success into Christmas 2005, the company has developed the Roboraptor, a 32in (81cms) long dinosaur, that you guessed it, roams around entertaining while spending its time doing robot dinosaur things. But can the company repeat the magic two years in a row? We went prehistoric to find out.
Like those evil dinosaur baddies in the original Jurassic Park, the Roboraptor puts on a mean face. So mean in fact, that one of the girls we showed was actually scared it might hurt her.
Controlled by a remote that is shaped like an Xbox controller, you can move the robot forwards and backwards as well as shaking its tail and snapping at would be prey.
As with the Robosapien, there is a demo button so you can see all 40 commands the monster is capable of and luckily there is also an off switch just under its tail so you can turn it off when you've had enough.
Movement is jerky at best and don't expect this to have the speed of those in the movie, it took us a good five minutes to get it to walk ten meters.
This isn't just another dinosaur remote control however and the Roboraptor three moods are 'Hunter', 'Cautious' and 'Playful' and these reflect the way he will react to you.
Interacting is via two touch sensors, one in his tail and the other in his head. These do allow some interactivity, although don't expect anything groundbreaking like Sony's Aibo.
It's understandable really. Aibo costs around £1500 while this 6 x AA batteries and 3 x AAA (not included) battery-guzzling monster model is a mere £80. The fatal requirement of batteries in threes (and this is only the one set) will see you buying three packs at a time to make up complete sets ready to replace.
In our tests we took it out to show a number of different groups of people. Everybody we showed loved it, including our dog. The laughs as the raptor waddled around the office, pub or park we took it to certainly proved that.
However every time we did get the robot out, it became more apparent that the novelty was soon wearing off giving this a definite five-minute wonder tag and if we had been parents buying for a child at Xmas, we'd have needed shares in Duracell to keep it going.
If you're looking to buy this for Christmas then be prepared that its new owner will love it on Christmas day, but want to boot sale it by New Year's Eve.
This product was kindly loaned to us by iwantoneofthose.com