Rocki the robot companion for pets kept my dog company (as long as it kept giving out treats) – CNET

Rocki the robot companion for pets kept my dog company (as long as it kept giving out treats) – CNET

Going back to work doesn’t have to mean you can’t play with your pet. Rocki is a smartphone-controlled robot that allows you to interact with your pets from anywhere you have access to the internet. Connect to Rocki using the iOS or Android app, then start chasing your pet, teasing it with a laser pointer and rewarding it with tasty treats.

I was curious how my dog Luna, a 5-year-old pug/Boston terrier mix, would react to Rocki. At first Luna was skeptical and a little jumpy when Rocki would move, but as soon as she realized it had treats, she became obsessed and would not let it out of her sight.

Controlling Rocki away from home on a 5G network works really well. I experienced the same delay between the controls and movement as I do while in the same room as the device. However, on a slower network, the latency was so bad it was pretty much unusable. If you’re still waiting for 5G in your area you may want to hold off on buying something like Rocki.

Rocki’s battery can last several days on standby, allowing you to connect to it and start playing whenever the mood strikes. However, if your pet is like Luna and constantly scratches and barks at it, you may not be able to leave it out constantly. I have to put Rocki away when I’m home and sneak it out where Luna won’t see when I plan on using it. This makes for a fun surprise for Luna, but it does rather limit Rocki’s usefulness.

While Luna seems to be enjoying Rocki, it may not be for all dog owners. If you have more than one dog, sending out treats one at a time may start a fight. Also, dogs who tend to panic when their owners leave home may see Rocki as another sign their humans are leaving.

Although it’s designed to be enjoyed by both cats and dogs, cat owners will likely get more use out of Rocki. Luna was curious about the laser pointer at first, but I removed it because she chews on it and I was worried it would accidentally blind her. This just leaves me with a $250 treat dispenser that moves, and I get the sense that Luna isn’t playing with it as much as she is following it for treats.

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