Desk Pets

Are you getting tired of playing Solitaire when you want to take a little break? I've got just the thing for you--DeskPets. They are a veritable hoot.

At present there are two species: the Skitterbot and the Trekbot. The Skitterbot is an arachnoid-like robot that skitters around on six legs. It looks something like a tarantula, but unlike true arachnids that have eight legs, Skitterbots only have six legs. The Trekbot kind of reminds me of a robotic racing wheel chair without a passenger.

Both species come in four flavors. The Skitterbot comes in maroon, blue, clear, and green. Trekbots come in white, blue, black, and orange. They both measure approximately three inches and cover about one foot per second, which is pretty fast for any rugbug.

They are simple to operate. You  extend the USB tab and plug into any USB port. Thirty minutes of charging yields 15 minutes of play.

Once charged, turn on the gadget and use the remote to guide it through maneuvers--forward, left, right, and reverse. It remembers the last command and will continue on that path until it receives a new command.

While you must charge the roving unit, the remote requires three little hearing aid batteries. I don't know how long they last, but so far, they have survived a lot of showing off the new gadget.

My advice is not to get just one. Get at least two so you can have races with friends, destruction derbies (don't worry they are quite sturdy), and run courses or mazes. It takes a little skill to maneuver successfully.

Little eyes light up giving these deskbots an eerie appearance, especially  at night. They work pretty well for terrorizing cats and dogs as well as people who are skittish about spiders.

If you don't want to use the remote that comes with your little rugbug, you can download a free app for remote control with your iPhone, iPod, or Android.

The suggested retail price is $19.95, but if you shop online, I think you can do better. If you can't wait for one to be shipped, you can pick one up at RadioShack or Toys R Us.

Rumor has it that yet another species will be introduced in the fall--The Tankbot that runs on treads and comes in four colors.

What I think would be funny is to create a Deskpet mouse that you could control remotely and freak people out.

I think my solitaire days are done, thanks to these hilarious little bots. I can't imagine life without them now.


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