Robot rover

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Every week we meet at this spot to share news of another new gadget or two. With this year-end column we begin a new tradition - The G-Spot Gadget of the Year.

There's no monetary prize for the inventor. No regal ceremony in some snow-laden Scandinavian country. I simply take a look back at this year's columns and pick the gadget I think was the best of the lot.

This was a big year for The Gadget Guy family. We got two new dogs in 2008. The corgi pup lying on my living room rug is Chip. He's extremely loving, constantly runs to our front door to bark at nothing and has a running feud with a parked Jeep across the street.

The other pooch is Wrex The Dawg. Robots were big in the gadget world this year, and Wrex, a personable and very mechanical version of a junkyard dog, wins 2008's Gadget of the Year honor.

Wrex (originally priced by Wowwee at $150; currently available for $50 at does everything you'd expect of a real dog: He plays, begs, swivels his ears, turns his head and even cocks his leg while making peeing sounds.

Since he's a cartoon-like robot, he'll also act like a cat when you smack his "bump button nose," and he can rotate his eyes like a slot machine. His moods include happy, crazy or "junkyard dog" angry.

Chip performs no tricks, though he loves to fetch. Wrex performs any of 80 movements or tricks as directed via remote control. He can also roam freely, avoiding obstacles and reacting to things around him.

Wrex faced tough competition for the title of Gadget of the Year (all of which you can re-read in the archives at

He beat out Heartland America's Lover's Cushion, which promises no less than the best sex ever; GPS lingerie from Brazil; the 195-mph Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder I test-drove; the Clear card that legally lets you line-jump at airport security checkpoints (not including Port Columbus); the DTV converter box you better attach to your analog TV by Feb. 17; and the Toto Washlet Toilet with its heated seat and the mechanics to wash and dry your sorry butt.

But in the end, thanks to Wrex, 2008 proved to be the year of the robot dog.

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