New companion robots can't do much but make us love them

If we can relate to Roombas, experts say, we may be even more vulnerable to the charms of robots designed expressly to be cute and cuddly. One way these robots tug on our heartstrings is by sporting the same sorts of anatomical features seen in babies and flesh-and-blood pets, such as big eyes and rounded bodies.

Another way the robots exploit our penchant for affection is by encouraging us to play with or cuddle them. Aibo approaches people and “sniffs” or yips at them and mimics the bows that real dogs use to invite others to play. Lovot, which looks a bit like the porgs in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” has a sensor-studded body that detects snuggles so it can giggle or turn closer in response. It even follows its owner around the house, cooing and begging to be picked up by waving its flippers…

Then there’s the $149 Qoobo, a sort of furry pillow with a wagging tail that is designed expressly for people who cannot keep a real pet because of allergies or housing rules forbidding pets.