If you need a stand-in for your flesh-and-bone friends, look to Desk Pet, manufacturers of small, remote-controlled "Bots" that can be easily and quickly recharged via a USB port.
The latest Bot is the Tankbot, a cute Tron-inspired tank that is controlled via a smartphone app on your iPhone, iTouch, iPad or Android phone. Users can control the Tankbot with the smart device and a signal transmitter that is plugged into your device's audio jack.
Also available are the Skitterbot - a cockroach-like Bot that moves in such a way that people will be hard pressed not to stomp them into oblivion - and last but not least, the Trekbot, a bot with two big wheels that can do a variety of tricks and is a speedy little guy. These two bots come with their own little controllers so you can enjoy remote control fun even if you don't have a smart device. The Bots are currently exclusively available from Ling Kee Bookstore for HK$199. To find out more about the pint-sized "pets", check them out at www.mydeskpets.com.