If you happen to be trapped in a city with bright lights all around and a little added “atmosphere” — or smog, as some like to call it — you should love this little guy. Instead of destroying small planets like the mini Death Star that it looks like, the HomeStar Planetarium ($240) recreates the constellations indoors for you viewing pleasure. It features a high-brightness white LED, a slot for different plates showing different groups of stars, six hour battery life, and an adjustable stand.
Say hello to Pleo ($300). The robotic dinosaur, created by Furby inventor Caleb Chung, walks around on four legs, senses its surroundings, interacts with people, shows emotion, and learns from its experiences. Pleo has a whopping 8 processors, 14 motors and 38 sensors. Ugobe, Chung's company, describes the tiny dino the best: "Pleo is equipped with senses for sight, sound, and touch. He learns as he explores his environment. He will exhibit genuine reactions to sensory stimuli. Every Pleo begins life with certain tendencies but, interaction with his environment has subtle effects on his behavior. Every Pleo eventually exhibits a unique personality. Pleo is capable of expression. He can feel joy and sorrow, anger and annoyance."
We've all dreamed of building our own robot... for whatever perverse reasons. Luckily, Lego is here to fulfill our fantasy. The Lego Mindstorms NXT system ($250; available in Aug.) lets you easily build and program robots. The heart of the new system is the NXT brick, a 32-bit Lego microprocessor that can be programmed using a Mac or PC. After you build your robot creation, you hop on your computer to program it with some easy-to-use included software. You then transfer the programs to your invention using Bluetooth or USB 2.0, and once programmed, your robot "takes on a life of its own, fully autonomous from the computer." Look out, kitty. [via]