Dawn of the Robopanda

It's cute, it hugs its own little toy, and it's brought to you by WowWee, the same nice people who built the "Alive" Chimpanzee. It's beginning to smell like Christmas, and that means it's time for Robopanda!

Robopanda

Uhh...oops...wrong file there...

Ah. Here we go:

Robopanda

Oh, this is a happy little fellow, isn't he? The closer these robot creatures get to that creeped-out teddy bear from AI, the more menacing. And aren't the glowing blue eyes an interesting design choice?

The Engadget techmavens got to play with Robopanda earlier this year.

Sure we may come across as rugged and ultra-suave, but deep down we're really big softies, which is why WowWee's new Robopanda is such a refreshing change from the vicious reptiles and flamethrowing humanoids that the company's usually pushing out the door.

Oh, if you only knew...

Featuring several touch sensitive areas as well as an accelerometer to measure speed (move too fast and it freaks out just a bit), RoboPanda offers numerous methods of interaction.

Whaaa?

Lance Ulanoff's review in PC Magazine mentions this unsettling tidbit:

Like a small child, it issues a steady stream of requests, comments, and silly stories and ideas. At one point it asked me if I had ever been attacked by a panda, adding, "Do you want to be? AARRGH! Just kidding." This is "play" in the Robopanda's world.

Yesssss....like the way that wolf pups "play" in all those cute nature videos...

The 6-year-old sat rooted in front of the Robopanda, responding to every request and often answering verbally, though the robot cannot actually respond to anything anyone says. After a while I had to ask the little girl to leave, and she reluctantly agreed to stop playing with the Robopanda.

Like crack, this one is.