Robots of Christmas Past - I

While kids of all ages embrace the Pleo as a companion, an almost forgotten robot dog from almost a decade ago, I-Cybie demands attention for being a technological marvel and for manifesting the talents of its creators, Silverlit Electronics.

Released in 2000 and marketed by Tiger Electronics and then by Hasboro, the I-Cybie packs personality along with its innate cuteness factor. Along with the soon to be reviewed Wowwee Robopet, I-Cybie was intended to be a cheaper alternative to the then famous Sony Aibo.

The I-Cybie, like its cousin the Aibo is now discontinued. I was lucky to get my hands on on. There are three ways to make the I-Cybie obey its human lord-master. You are hereby warned that none of these ways is guaranteed to work all the time. The I-Cybie responds to sound. You can use your voice to give it simple commands or use claps to make it respond to you.

Like most other robots, the I-cybie can also respond to a remote control. The I-Cybie also came with a charger but unfortunately a four to six hour charge could disappear after a two hour play with the I-Cybie.

These two hours could however, be two hours of indulgent fun as you watch and play with the I-Cybie. I-Cybie is e effortlessly and realistically walks about, negotiating obstacles in his environment using his eyes that pack light sensors. His eyes can change from yellow to green to red.

His limbs are among the most amazing mechanical marvels I have seen. As he comes to life after a fresh charge, he goes through a few amazing motions which include push ups and some dexterous twists and turns.

His master can also set his moods to friendly, disobedient and so on. When commanded either by voice, clap or a remote the I-Cybie responds, often, in unpredictable ways.

Growing up, I remember an old TV ad that said, ' A thing of quality has no fear of time.' Undoubtedly the I-Cybie qualifies as such a 'thing'.

While the I-Cybie was not intended to be hacker friendly, some brave souls have actually managed to hack it. The bravest among them have actually taken I-cybie apart and dug deep into his wiring. This is a realm I will avoid... for now.

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