The Heart robot was created by scientists at the University of the West of England in Bristol. It has an obviously beating heart (ET-style), a belly that bellows in and out and sensor-laden arms.
The Heart robot reacts to all who contact it, encouraging caring reactions.
(Heart robot is a caring robot)
Holly Cave, who helped organise the Emotibots event at the Science Museum where the machine was unveiled, said:
"Heart Robot looks like a cross between ET and Gollum and is about the size of a small child.
"He's half robot, half puppet. You move him around by hand, but he has innate responses that appear emotional.
"Different children react to him very differently. They either want to hug and cuddle him, and look after him like a doll or baby, or they just want to scare him."
Actually, I might name ET as a precursor for this robot; there are a lot of similarities. However, the use of robots as pets in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the Philip K. Dick classic, is probably closer.
He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep "grazed." Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.
Of course, some of their animals undoubtedly consisted of electronic circuitry fakes, too (he had never nosed into the matter)…Nothing could be more impolite. To say "Is your sheep genuine" would be a breach of etiquette.
(Read more about Dick's electric sheep)