Sega strikes back with robot penguin toy

Sega's latest robot toy is a dancing plastic penguin

Just to prove that Japan's not only about really creepy robots , here's a perfect example of how robotics can be used to entertain and time-waste simultaneously courtesy of Sega .

The former video-game giant now makes a living peddling mostly cheap toys to kids - in this case, its target is 8- to 12-year-old girls. As of the end of July, the object of their affection will be - Sega hopes - none other than a robotic penguin.

Robotic i menagerie

The i penguin [PDF link] arrives next month for ¥2,940 (£12). It's the latest addition to Sega's monster-hit range of entertainment 'bots that includes iDog, iFish and others. And it's sold almost six million units worldwide.

Like the other simple robots, i penguin (yes, its name is capitalised that way for some reason) is all about audio. Users plug a music source into its standard 3.5mm audio socket and watch the bird jive.

Aside from reacting to the music, i penguin also has a Tamagotchi-like gameplay element whereby it demands to be 'fed' more tunes and expresses displeasure when they aren't forthcoming. As for power, rather than fish, our flightless friend runs on three AAA batteries.

Thankfully, the device can also double up as a speaker for sharing music from, for example, the ubiquitous iPod that Sega is using in its marketing literature.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.