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Artificial dinosaur may have Linux on its mind

Sep 13, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

The world will learn more about an artificial baby dinosaur at the ARM Developer's Conference two weeks from now in Santa Clara, Calif. There, Ugobe CTO John Sosoka is expected to reveal long-awaited details about the $350 Pleo and it's “Life OS,” which is probably based on Linux.

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In a “special lunchtime keynote” at the ARM conference, CTO Sosoka is expected to “introduce the company's Life Form Operating System (Life OS),” according to ARM. Sosoka will also introduce “Life Forms,” described as a “designer species” incorporating the basic traits of autonomous life.

Additionally, Sosoka will demonstrate Pleo, a device “specifically engineered and enhanced to mimic life and to assist, entertain, and relate to humanity on a personal level,” according to ARM.

Ugobe's Pleo

In Feb. 2006, Ugobe representatives at a DEMO event confirmed for LinuxDevices that the Pleo was then based on an embedded Linux operating system. However, company marketing spokespersons subsequently recanted that statement, and declined our request for further details.

The Pleo is an autonomous replica of a week-old Kamarasuarus dinosaur. The foot-tall device is not remotely controllable, but rather designed to imitate life by learning from its environment, showing emotion, and interacting with the animals around it. During its first couple of battery discharge cycles, it plays out a 5-10 minute “birth” session and 45-minute “hatchling” phase, after which it enters a juvenile stage and is ready to learn tricks and display a unique “personality,” the company says.

The Pleo will soon be somewhat user-modifiable, thanks to a Pleo Developer's Kit expected to launch “this Fall,” Ugobe has said. The Kit is expected to provide a C++ API (application programming interface) for adding new sounds and behavior patterns via an SD flash memory card. Additionally, a PC and Mac utility may allow some interaction with the device's sensors, which appear to include a camera and a nose-mounted IR transceiver.

Here are a few more photos of Pleo:

(Click each thumbnail for a larger view; source Ugobe)

And, here's a YouTube video:

(Click to play)

For now, further details and a few short videos about Pleo are available here. More details about the ARM Developer's Conference can be found here.

Henry Kingman

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