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iPod Robot Brings Music On Wheels

Do you carry an iPod in your pocket or purse?

That’s so yesterday.

Welcome to the future, where selling you a product you don’t really need for money you don’t really have to spend is the next wave.

A company that specializes in robot manufacturing has come up with the latest innovation for those too lazy to bother loading Apple’s MP3 music player into their jeans.

It’s called a Miuro – which is supposed to be short for “music innovation based on utility robot technology” if you don’t look too hard. It’s a robot-like device that allows your iPod to follow you like a faithful dog, all the while blasting your favourite tunes out of built-in Kenwood speakers.

The egg-shaped machine has a slot where the iPod can be locked in to ensure it doesn’t damage the player, and then the Miuro wheels from room to room bringing its music with it. It measures 14 inches, weighs about 11 pounds, comes in a variety of colours including black, white, yellow and red, and works with a wireless remote. 

“I designed it to have a gentle look because it becomes a part of everyday life by integrating robotics and music,” explains creator Shinichi Hara. “The robot helps you listen to music wherever you are without even thinking about it.”

And it’s great for the laziest people on earth. “Sometimes I don’t even have the energy to put on a CD,” claims Hisashi Taniguchi, the president of ZMP, which makes the product.

So how much will you pay for this ultra-convenience? Try just over $1,000 Canadian. But that’s only if you don’t want all the extras, like a camera and sensors that can help your new toy remember pre-programmed routes.

But there may be an additional charge if you decide you really, really want one – the cost of an airline ticket to Japan. For now, the rockin’ robot music follower is only on sale via the Internet in that country. 

It’s expected to be available here in the second half of 2007, and ZMP believes it can sell 10,000 in the first year and wrack up sales of $8.5 million.