i.am branching out: Will.i.am reveals plans to create all-singing all-dancing robotic musical pets ready for Christmas


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The Independent Culture

He’s had his songs beamed from Mars and appeared via hologram on CNN, but now Will.i.am's latest geeky venture is the creation of robotic musical pets.

The Voice coach said he hopes the animal will be all-singing and all-dancing, and be able to respond to its owner's requests in a similar way to iPhone’s Siri software.

He said: “I want to be able to talk to it. I want to be able to tell it, ‘Play this song, download it.’ I want to be able to tell it, ‘Put the next game on Tivo.’ I want this thing to rule my house.”

The "Scream & Shout" singer said he hopes to have the gadget ready by Christmas, and revealed he was inspired to create the pet after a trip to Harrods.

“Last November I was walking through Harrods and I picked up a little stuffed animal. Right next to it was a speaker. Right next to that, there was a little MiFi wireless connector box.”

“I took a day off, got a stuffed animal, ripped it apart, stuck the MiFi connector in its head, sewed it up, put the speaker in his belly, sewed it up, put a freakin’ iPhone in his mouth. It’s my prototype for the next product- we’re working to have it for Christmas,” he told Wired magazine.

The concept is Will.i.am’s latest venture into the world of innovation. The music star has previously invested in headphones Beats by Dre and foto.sosho, a vintage-looking iPhone case.

He has also given £500,000 of his own money to the Prince’s Trust to be spent on science and engineering programmes in Brixton and east London.

Explaining his obsession for new technology, he said: “Creativity is relative. You encourage it, but you can’t teach it. Everybody is not going to make it. And that’s a hard rock to swallow. If you talk to a creative person, it’s life or death.”

The musician is currently engaged in a copyright dispute with US artist Pharrell over the use of the phrase "i.am."