Did we mention Qoobo has no head, arms or legs? Yeah, this therapeutic and hypoallergenic robotic pet is basically a furry purring 'body' with a tail that wags, which isn't at all disturbing – especially to those already IN therapy.
Qoobo – the name is derived from the French words for “tail” and “robot” - is “an interactive tailed cushion” conceived by Yukai Engineering Co. of Japan. While cats are enormously popular in Japan, many people who'd love to own one simply can't. Pet-free rental apartment clauses, cat allergies and the cost of keeping a cat are just a few reasons why Cat Cafés, for example, are popping up not in just in Japan but around the world.
Qoobo, however, isn't as cat-like as one might assume. The clever folks at Yukai decided to cut out all the extraneous “frills” that most cat-owners (and cats, for that matter) take for granted – arms, legs, a head, that sorta stuff. What's left is all minimalist wannabe cat-owners need: something to pet, something that purrs, and something that indicates whether your petting is, er, appreciated. It's biofeedback with a twist, to be sure!
As such, Qoobo's tail is designed to move in various different ways in response to the type of patting or stroking. At the same time, the body portion vibrates to impart the soothing sensation of having a real, live purring kitteh curled up on your lap. Qoobo's maintenance-free design is also ideal for the burgeoning market for therapy animals. Qoobo can go places actual therapy pets can't, expanding the availability of these therapies to those being treated for anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Qoobo began as a Kickstarter crowd-funding project but after more than doubling its original ¥5,000,000 ($44,800) funding goal, full-scale production for the retail market quickly began. Available in Husky Gray or French Brown, the device is listed at Amazon though the manufacturer is struggling to keep up with demand! (via Jonelle Patrick)
*** UPDATED on March 7th, 2019 ***