Have you ever wanted to own a cat but felt like your allergies would never allow for that to happen? Do you currently own a dog that might murder a kitten if it were brought into your household? Do you wish you could raise your own cat influencer so it could snowball its viral fame into a podcast program that you may have the fortune of banking off of?
Japanese company Yukai Engineering may have a solution for you, if your idea of replacing a living cat involves purchasing a $150 robotic headless pillow named Qoobo. According to the product’s Kickstarter, the “Qoobo is a robotic pillow with a tail intended to provide a sense of comfort to users.” It waves and whips its tail around whenever it’s caressed. When it’s pet a little harder, it swings in a playful manner. Also, on occasion and just because it loves you, it wags its tail to say hello. The Qoobo’s Amazon description also mentions that a variety of different tail movements were studied when making this product, “so that you do not lose interest” in ever petting it.
The Qoobo is targeted directly at those who wish they could own, pet, and hang out with a cat, but would rather buy a robot than an actual animal due to allergies or other cat-owning difficulties humans may run into. Those who doubt the headless robotic cat pillow market (billed as a “tailed cushion that heals your heart”) should take note: Yukai Engineering has already sold over 10,000 units of the Qoobo within Japan, and it revealed at this year’s Berlin-based trade show IFA 2019 that a small customer base is growing within the United States.
After the Qoobo raised 12.3 million yen (roughly $120,000) on its Kickstarter, the company shipped over 900 devices for backers in 2018. Since then, Yukai Engineer has focused on touring its little cat pillow around at trade shows to explain the benefits of “tail therapy” to the unassuming tech audience, and showing off their two colored models, “husky grey” and “french brown.” It’s only a matter of time until we see a flattened-out dog pillow equipped with faster motorized tail and maybe a set of ears that responds to its name.