Tiger Electronics releases robotic take on man's best...


September 17, 2001

Tiger Electronics releases robotic take on man's best friend

i-Cybie won't replace the warm fuzzies you get from Fido, but he will amuse you.

Owners will have to train Tiger Electronics' robotic toy dog - or is it really the other way around? Users will keep their noses in the manual, trying to decipher the moods reflected in i-Cybie's red/green/orange flashing eyes and how best to control him - by voice, remote control or clapping.(You can tell he's a boy because of his virtual bathroom habits.)

My household found the remote control, with numbered buttons like for a TV, the most reliable. i-Cybie will also respond to patterns of claps for different tricks. Voice commands give him occasional trouble, such as distinguishing between "bow" and "sit down." We also noted that the number of commands he can perform is fairly limited.

Left unattended, i-Cybie will use his multiple sensors to explore on his own, reversing himself when he bumps into furniture and eventually entering a sleep mode. Nor is i-Cybie's repertoire restricted to dog-related stunts. He can, for instance, do headstands.

Be careful not to recharge his 12-volt NiCad battery pack too long; it can burn out.

For $199.99, i-Cybie is not nearly as sophisticated as Sony's Aibo. But he's hundreds of dollars less than an Aibo and far more intriguing than the $20 robot dogs found at toy stores.

Information: 847-913-8100 or see www.tigertoys.com.

- Linda S. Johnson/KRT

Handspring releases book player for PDAs

Handspring designed its Visor to be many things to many people.

For those who'd rather hear books on the PDA than read them on the go, CardAccess is just out with its Audible Advisor.

The Advisor is a pop-in module that turns the Visor into an audio book player. It has 16 megabytes of memory, good for about 4 1/2 hours of spoken material. More than 22,000 titles are available from Audible.com for an additional charge.

Installing and activating the software is quick, and operation is easy. The ear buds are extremely uncomfortable, though.

Fortunately, a standard-size jack allows use of other headphones. The Advisor lists for $130, but users who subscribe to Audible's content for a year can get it for $49.

Information: 888-283-5051 or www.audible.com/advisor.

- Paula Felps/KRT

TDK's Mojo has neat display, limited usefulness

Like competitors, TDK's portable Mojo CD-MP3 Digital Jukebox can play about 10 hours of music on a CD you record in the MP3 format. But the $180 Mojo's four-line, backlit LCD that displays more song information than others.

It can also sort tunes by type, artist and title. Another great feature: forty-five seconds of skip protection on standard audio CDs and a whopping eight minutes on MP3 discs. On the flip side, the location and shape of the navigation buttons on the lid are unconventional and hard to get accustomed to. Also, choosing a device that plays only standard audio CDs and MP3 format discs might restrict its use if other formats become popular.

Information: www.tdk.com/mojo or 800-835-8273.

- Jim Buu/KRT

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