I have no idea how my wife and I would have been able to survive the pandemic without our two English bull terriers. But we’re lucky. We live in a house with a backyard and plenty of indoor space for everyone to spread out. The pups have been a godsend when it comes to battling loneliness and cabin fever.
But maybe your circumstances don’t allow for an animal companion of any sort. What can you do? Well, that’s were Nicobo comes in.
Nicobo is a robot that looks like a cat bunched up into the shape of a sock. It recognizes faces, responds to voices, and has touch sensors so it knows when you’re giving it a hug. It can’t move, but it does rotate up and down.
Nicobo can be a little petulant. It can start talking without any prompting and is apparently prone to bad moods where it will just sort of sulk. Oh, and it farts. All for the equivalent of US$360. There’s also a US$10/month subscription to keep the thing up to date.
Given that the Japanese love their gadgets, all available units of Nicobo sold out within six hours.