Note: this post is from 2006, outbound links may be broken.
Availabot tells you when your IM buddy is online
Availabot is a physical representation of presence in Instant Messenger applications. Availabot plugs into your computer by USB, stands to attention when your chat buddy comes online, and falls down when they go away. It’s a presence-aware, peripheral-vision USB toy… and because the puppets are made in small numbers on a rapid-prototyping machine, it can look just like you.
You can have as many Availabots as your system has USB ports.
Currently it only works on iChat on Mac OS X 10.4 but they’re looking into extending it to simular apps on the Mac and possibly Windows in the future.
Check Availabot @ Schulze and Webb for more information. A video of Availabot in action is available as well.