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Tandars Interactive Pet: Plush toys that imitate life

Consumer Reports News: February 16, 2011 02:36 PM

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Tandars Interactive Pet at Toy Fair '11
(click to enlarge)
Photo: Consumer Reports

Whether you love them or are slightly creeped out by them, plush interactive toys are becoming ever more eerily realistic. And the huge-eyed little Tandars Interactive Pets (inspired by an actual animal, the Philippine Tarsier) that debuted at Toy Fair '11 were some of the most lifelike I've seen.

They blink, smile, frown, speak, and fall asleep (apparently burp and fart, too, though I didn't witness that!), responding to environmental cues via infrared sensors in their eyes and on the back and head. Owner interactions—holding and patting them—can change a Tandars' "moods."

A Tandars Pet reacts not only to its owner but also to other Tandars that come within a few feet; they'll "converse" using more than 50 words and phrases of "Tandarese." The more you interact with your Tandar, the more it will speak. (Check out a video of Tandars in action at the company's site.)

The Tandars Pet does get hungry, so it has a USB connector at the end of its tail that you use to power it (no updates via USB, at least initially). The company will also sell a charging accessory called the Aji Baz Charging Fruit, which can power the Pet away from computers and also serve as a glowing nightlight.

For a little ecological component, part of the profits from selling these toys will be donated to the non-profit Philippine Tarsier Foundation, which promotes research and is creating a sanctuary for the animals. Look for three varieties of Tandars Pets (each $49 list) this spring, recommended for kids age 6 and up.

—Carol Mangis

Carol Mangis

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