A fuzzy yellow robot initially used for autism therapy is going mainstream this fall, with Toys “R” Us marketing a consumer version that very well could be the next must-have Christmas item.
The robot known as My Keepon is just 10 inches tall and features little more than two big eyes and a black dot for a nose. But, it responds to touch and can turn and even sneeze.
What’s more, the little creature can dance, with its movements changing along with the beat of any music playing nearby. Keepon’s dancing is such a draw that a video posted on YouTube has generated 2.6 million views.
While there’s no conclusive studies on the effectiveness of Keepon among children with autism, initial observations showed that kids made more eye contact when interacting with the robot and expressed better social skills. As a result, researchers at several institutions purchased the device at $30,000 a piece.
Now, a consumer model is on its way — expected to ring up at under $50 — and Toys “R” Us is banking that the masses will respond. They’ve secured the exclusive U.S. rights to sell Keepon and plan to have it on store shelves in late October, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. To read more click here.