Although not strictly robots, Nabaztag and Chumby are two of the most popular “smart objects”, so called because of their ability to connect to the Internet and interact with various Internet applications (to read news headlines, weather forecasts or email for example).
Nabaztag is a bunny-shaped (”nabaztag” is Armenian for “rabbit” I read) Wi-Fi enabled France-born personal companion that reads aloud news and email and plays streaming mp3s and podcasts. It lights up for alerts and rotates its two long ears when excited (I made that up, I don’t know when exactly does it rotate its ears). It can connect with other smart rabbits on the Internet, and (I’m not making this up) you can have it “marry” another Nabaztag, although you can probably program yours to stay single and therefore more focused on your needs.
A Chumby is much like a Nabaztag, without the bunny shape, the Caucasian name and the ability to marry, but with a display screen, which should be much more convenient to most people. This Linux-powered device can display your flickr photos, webpages, the time and weather, anything that you could possibly think of that can be found on the Internet.
A few Nabaztags rotating their ears.
A herd of Nabaztag
Close-up of a Chumby, on a pamphlet announcing it has arrived in Japan
A mountain of Chumbies displaying various widgets.