In the world of all-things-crazy that is Japan, toy manufacturer Bandai – (also the original brains behind the 90s “tamagotchi” craze) – has found a new use for Apple’s smartphone turning the mobile device into … a dog’s face.
Marking the company’s first move into the long-established electronic pets market, Smartpet arrives in the form of a robotic dog which uses the iPhone as a gateway for user interaction. The robot toy connects to the iPhone using a free application to be available from the App Store in the coming weeks, which features up to 100 different facial expressions.
As the Smartpet becomes more aware of its surroundings it will also become more emotionally attached to you – (or so the manufacturer claims). It does this by analyzing either the voice-based or gesture-based movements that you show to it through the iPhone’s front-facing, FaceTime-ready camera.
Smartpet hits shelves on April 24 in Japan, selling for what is expected to be around ¥6,500 ($78). The free app you will use to control your new iPhone-touting robotic friend will be out on the App Store, March 31.
Check out the following video to see the virtual pet in action!