Our household gadgets can perform lots of tasks on our behalf, from calling an Uber to ordering a pizza. Now, LG is betting that animal lovers will buy a device that keeps an eye on their home and lets them play with their pets while they're out of the house.
LG's Rolling Bot looks a bit like a droid out of the Star Wars universe. It comes equipped with a camera, a speaker, and a laser pointer. The Bot can be controlled remotely with the company's new G5 Android smartphone, letting you steer the device and see live footage from its camera.
When Pet Mode is activated, the spheroid device spins and projects its laser on nearby surfaces to tease your cat or dog. And if your pup is misbehaving when you're out of the house, you can give him or her a stern yell through the Rolling Bot's built-in speakers. (The laser is useful for purposes other than playing with pets; it also functions as a power button for your TV in case you forgot to turn it off when you left the house.)
The bionic ball is a bit smaller than a basketball and feels lightweight. It's very responsive, too. After linking the bot to my phone, I was able to pilot the ball around the room with ease.
Still, there are pet toys on the market that are more advanced than LG's rolling companion. The Kittyo can be controlled remotely and lures your cat toward it by emitting bird noises. The CleverPet prompts your dog to play Whack-a-Mole-style games by tapping its paws on touch pads.
What makes LG's device stand out, however, is that it's not primarily a pet toy — that aspect just happens to be an added bonus. LG hasn't said when the Rolling Bot will be released or how much it will cost.