In an article about desk pets, the small robot Cozmo

A Few Desk Pets That Won’t End Procrastination, But Will Entertain

From a robotic dog to a miniature WALL-E lookalike, these cute devices will keep you company while you're getting your work done.
July 21, 2020
5 mins read

The future is here.

Intelligent robots are beginning to integrate themselves into our lives and homes, making real life seem a lot like (the cool aspects of) “Wall-E.”

While some bots such as the handy Roomba take up more space and are meant to perform specific tasks, others seem to exist purely for human companionship.

In fact, while endlessly scrolling through TikTok, I stumbled upon Vector — the cutest, most expressive robot comrade one could ever hope to meet. In addition to his impressive TikTok following, Vector’s highly advanced technology allows him to communicate in a humanlike fashion, as well as play games, entertain himself, tell the weather and answer your questions.


Vecotornsays hello and thank you for the love 💕

♬ original sound - Corinne

Interactive desk pets like Vector make the perfect distraction from your task at hand and they provide vibrancy to your workspace.

1. Cozmo

While Vector is tailored for the entertainment of adults, Cozmo is strikingly similar to his sophisticated cousin, except cheaper and with more kid-friendly features.

Priced at $180, his compact size makes him the perfect desk pet. He can fit right in the corner of the workspace in your STEM-loving child’s bedroom. While Vector traditionally comes in sleek black, Cozmo’s appearance is more colorful, making him stand out and preferred by children.

Cozmo also has more game features that connect to his app where kids can actively play with their pet when they aren’t working on homework. Like Vector, his expressive eyes allow interactions with the desk pet to be remarkably personal and human-like.

Also, similar to Vector, Cozmo will challenge you to a variety of games, and will pout when he loses and gloat when he wins.

If you enjoy interacting with Vector, your children will equally value their time with other kid-friendly desk pets such as Cozmo.

2. Olly

While Vector and Cozmo will occupy themselves by roaming around your workspace or playing with their block, Olly is a stationary desk pet.

Similar to Alexa, Olly can do all your hands-free internet browsing, but with his own unique demeanor that will evolve to mesh with your lifestyle. The prototypes for this doughnut-shaped desk pet allow him to rotate in all directions as he interacts with you or streams your favorite playlist.

Crafted to perform tasks beyond just responding to your requests, Olly will proactively make suggestions for you as he learns to adapt to your schedule — which is what makes him so unique.

According to Greenlama, Olly’s camera uses facial recognition technology to detect your mood and interact with you accordingly.

This rotating robot — though super practical — is not cheap. Olly is expected to be priced around $700. He will, however, become a beloved bionic addition to your family.

3. Aibo

Former Jimmy Neutron stans likely remember Goddard, Jimmy’s faithful mechanical canine. If you’re anything like me, you spent your Nickelodeon days dreaming about owning your very own Goddard.

While I do love my real-life dogs, they are definitely not robotic; they require the basic care and grooming of any average mammal pup, which is why I am so infatuated by Aibo — the most similar invention to Jimmy’s dog that I’ve ever seen.

Aibo is programmed to act exactly like a real dog, except without the bathroom breaks or fleas. He comes with his own bone that he can fetch, as well as a red ball to kick around with his human owners.

YouTube player

Though Aibo isn’t quite small enough to comfortably sit atop your desk while you work, he will happily take to roaming around the floor of your office space, doing all the things that normal dogs do.

This lovable pet also comes with his own “bed” where he can charge himself when he is low on battery.

Unfortunately, Aibo costs a whopping $2,899.99, but is perfect for those who are too busy to care for a real pet, or are highly allergic to dog hair. Of course, adopting a low-maintenance animal with hypoallergenic fur could certainly be the cheaper route to take.

4. A non-robotic, actual pet for your desk that is significantly cheaper yet still entertaining

While I would love to invite my very own robot dog into my work space, I definitely do not have the funds for such a purchase. If this is true for you as well, you may be interested in this cost-friendly desk pet that will bring a little life to your office.

This LED mini fish aquarium is perfect for housing a real pet that is way cheaper than a robotic one. For only $38 (not including the fish), you can purchase a modern-style fish tank that will not only house your finned friend, but will serve as a clock, lamp, calendar and weatherman. Coming in either black or white, this aquarium has different light settings, as well as a handy cup holder to store your pens and pencils.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the unique robots the future has to offer or you’d rather just buy a simple goldfish, there are a variety of options out there that will allow you to take a break from your office work and distract yourself with some fun desk pets.

Hannah Reynoso, University of Iowa

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Hannah Reynoso

University of Iowa
English and Creative Writing (Publishing Track)

Hannah Reynoso is a junior at the University of Iowa, majoring in English and Creative Writing. When she isn’t writing, Hannah likes to cook, exercise and hang out with her two dogs.

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