Companion robots have been with us for over a decade, yet are not that well known. One reason is the misunderstanding of what a robot is and isn’t. And part of that is due to the term robot itself, and its portrayal in film and books. A friendlier term is animatron, android, or social-robot, sometimes called “socialbots.”
A specific class of socialbots are made to resemble animals, and they’re often referred to as “robopets.” Some of today’s robopet companions are super smart, independent creatures. They know where they are in the world, they have eyes and ears, and they can feel someone touching them. They roam independently and with a purpose. They even bark and play.