New Robot Dog Called 'PC on Legs'

British designers today unveiled a robot dog that could probably take a bite out of Aibo, a popular Japanese model.

"Robodog," developed by RoboScience, is the Labrador to Aibo's Chihuahua, some might say.

Robodog can walk, climb and even read e-mails through its synthesized activated voice. Through camera lenses and microphones hooked up to the Internet, the dog can even "hear" and "see," allowing it to act as a guard dog by letting its owner know if it sees movement.

"It's a PC on legs," says desiger Nick Wirth, who formerly designed Formula One race cars. Wirth refers to the Microsoft Windows program that acts as a brain to power the Robodog.

Not a Toy

He insists Robodog, unlike its cuddly competitor, is no one's toy pet, but a demonstration of serious technological advances, previewing a future comprised of domestic robots.

"It's like comparing apples and oranges," Wirth says. "Theirs is a toy. It's entertainment. This is a platform for lightweight future robotics development."

Strong enough to lift a 5-year-old child, Robodog looks fierce but is amazingly light. Influenced by Formula One engineering, designers used carbon fiber to construct the dog. Being lightweight is considered crucial for future developments of human life-size robots, which if too heavy could pose a danger to its human owners.

Only 200 dogs are being built because of a $30,000 price tag. However, RoboScience sees its dog as an investment into the future dog-eat-dog world of robotics.

ABCNEWS' Cindy Martin contributed to this report.

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