Sega Toys suspends robot cat sales and issues recall in Japan after reports of a burning smell

Sega Toys 'KIMIT Ragdoll' line of robot pet cats is being recalled in Japan after users report a 'burning smell' coming from its synthetic fur.

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Sega Toys has a line of robot cats as part of its 'KIMIT Ragdoll' line, which attempts (arguably creepily) to recreate the look of a real cat. This means it has synthetic fur, so you can cuddle and pet it like the real thing. It even purs, though the eyes lighting up is a little strange.

Unfortunately, two months after their February 29th, 2024 debut (priced at around $215 USD), these robot cats are being recalled due to a 'burning smell.' At this point, you can probably put two and two together - electrical components mixed with synthetic fur lead to heat issues and an unpleasant plastic-burning smell.

As of writing, there aren't any reports of cat robots catching on fire, but Sega has issued an immediate recall of all models (including white and brown robot cats). Sega also asks users to turn them off immediately and go through the refund and returns process.

The origins of the 'KIMIT Ragdoll' line are admirable in that it was designed as a pet replacement for retirees, people who are allergic to cats, and those living in environments (like a densely populated city) where owning a pet isn't feasible. Adding sound effects and movement and having the robot react to cuddles and pats is meant to mimic the therapeutic benefits of interacting with cats. So, yeah, it's a shame that the design seemingly has a flaw that leads to the fur burning and emitting a bad smell.

Whether or not Sega Toys (a division of the same Sega that created Sonic and the Genesis and Dreamcast consoles) will return to the drawing board and release a new version remains to be seen.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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