close this bookVolume 7: No. 10
View the documentFunding news
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentEducation
View the documentResearch software (in our CRS 7.05 digest this week)
View the documentNeural networks
View the documentAlife and robotics

Tamagochii ("lovable egg"), a Japanese fad, is a very low-res "bird" image on an egg-shaped key ring bauble. The image grows from a chick to an adult in about 10 days, provided that you push buttons to feed it, groom it, play with it, sooth it, and clean up its droppings. The bird also makes sounds. Neglect it and it will die prematurely. "You stop thinking of it as just a picture." Bandai has sold 350K of these $16 virtual pets, and street prices have risen to over $320. Buyers include kids, secretaries, and middle-aged men. [Reuters. SJM, 23Jan97, 1C.]

Oddballz is a game where you can mutate, hatch, train, and play with seven fantasy pets. More interesting than Dogz or Catz, but less cute. . [Andrew ,, 14Dec96.]

There will be an "autonomous robotics football tournament" at the ECAL 4th European Conf. on Artificial Life, 28Jul97 in Brighton. This competition will be one-on-one, with a single yellow tennis ball. "A FOOTBALL TEAM will be a single small wheeled miniature mobile robot," with a $2,600 KHEPERA robot recommended (from ). Robots are expected to recognize each other, the ball, and the goals, and to move the ball with purpose. $1K prize. . [Paula Femenias , genetic-programming, 13Jan97. Bill Park.]

(I'm hesitant to mention this or any conference, as readers are likely to submit several more announcements. There seems to be far more interest in publishing conference announcements than in receiving them. If you really do want them -- from all AI-related areas -- let me know; we might find a moderator for a conference digest or web page. Otherwise, I'll leave conferences to the single-topic discussion lists.)

-- Ken