Qoobo robotic cat tail pillow gets a kitten-sized sibling

Richard Lai
Senior Editor; Engadget Chinese Editor in Chief

It was love at first sight when I met the Qoobo cat tail pillow back in 2017, and since then, it has made its way into nursing homes to keep seniors company. Unsurprisingly, there's also a demand for this therapeutic robot amongst lonely dwellers or folks who aren't able to keep pets, and some of them have even asked for a more portable version to be their all-day companion. As a result, Yukai Engineering has come up with the Petit Qoobo, a smaller cushion with a shorter robotic tail that reacts to not only touch but also sound. Better yet, it even has a subtle vibration to mimic the purring of a live cat.

I was able to play with a prototype Petit Qoobo right before CES, and in some ways, it was more adorable than its larger sibling. The robot came wrapped in the same soft, hypoallergenic fur as before, but the added gentle vibration made it more convincing. Rather than relying on a mesh of touch sensors, the Petit Qoobo only uses an accelerometer to respond to touch, which worked just as fine for me thanks to its body's smaller footprint.

The shorter tail combined with quicker wags reminded me of playful kittens, and I loved how it would occasionally stick up like an exclamation mark whenever I clapped or yelled at the pillow -- in an intimate way. Even when I left Petit Qoobo alone, its tail would make random life-like movements to get one's attention. You can imagine how funny it looks when a Petit Qoobo and its sibling wag their tails side by side.

Despite the extra features and smaller body, Petit Qoobo has the same eight-hour battery life as the Qoobo. The price is yet to be determined, but I've been told that it'll be cheaper than the $149 Qoobo when it launches some time in Q4 2020. We'll keep an eye out for further announcements.