iSpy: Karotz is uber-cute look at future of digital helpers
by Chris Pittman
cpittman@annistonstar.com
Apr 06, 2012 | 4696 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Karotz by Mindscape — $129.99

If you’ve ever wondered if rabbits have feelings, I’m here to answer your question. After all, Sunday is Easter and the white fluffy critters are in the spotlight. The glowing belly on my smart rabbit is enough proof for me to believe that they do. Though, I suppose the cable coming from the back into a power supply has more to do with this than anything else.

Meet Karotz, an intelligent, WiFi-enabled rabbit that wants to be your personal assistant. It also wants love.

The bunny comes with a voice dictation system that informs its owner about weather forecasts, stocks, news headlines and more.

A simple press of the button between the ears and you’re ready to issue a command. These voice commands are solid and it doesn’t take much effort to get the bunny to do what you want.

Facebook and Twitter compatibility seems to be the cornerstone for this device. You can easily train your Karotz to read your status updates, tweets and emails.

The critter’s ears will move as it talks away. Its belly will also change colors to indicate connection problems, in-progress reading and more.

Karotz is the first rabbit to my knowledge that features a built-in webcam. I’ve heard the Germans do weird experiments with animals, so I’m not 100 percent sure, though.

The camera can capture video that can be watched remotely from a computer or smart phone. I suppose that makes the rabbit a spy of some sort.

Another cool feature of the camera is its ability to scan specially made sensors that can provide updates to the owner. The company uses the example of having a child scan a chip when they return home from school to inform the parent of safe arrival.

This added level of security turns a mostly novelty product into a machine that could potentially provide visual evidence of a robbery.

I was impressed with the Karotz website. It features a blog, community forums and downloadable guides to better learn about your new companion.

The site is also where you download new applications or “APPZ” to use. More than 200 software applications were available at press time.

It’ll be interesting to see the support that the Karotz APPZ store receives over the coming months. The device could very well be a big success if the right amount of developers latch on to the project.

MP3 players, iPods and USB drives can be hooked up to Karotz for media-playing purposes. It acts just like a standard stereo when connected with these devices.

I’ve asked my Karotz several times if it plans on bringing me an Easter basket filled with goodies on Sunday. It did not respond. Probably doesn’t want to spoil the surprise, nudge, nudge. It knows that I’m not favorable to Tootsie Rolls.

Karotz is a solid look at future personal assistants built into a cute aesthetic package. I firmly believe that digital helpers are among the next big wave of technological advances.

Apple has already started the process with Siri, and I would expect to see Google and Microsoft create similar concepts within the next six months.

Karotz’s ability to read news, weather and other important information will be a big part of this technological leap. I highly doubt, however, that any of them will look like a furry animal when released to the public.

Thus, Karotz is an interesting look ahead to not-so-distant smart phone advances. Though the amount of filler applications does make the novelty concept stand out a bit more than it probably should.

This makes Karotz the ultimate example of non-necessary but uber-cute technology.
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iSpy: Karotz is uber-cute look at future of digital helpers by Chris Pittman
cpittman@annistonstar.com

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