Before we had the Radiator at the Guardian we had one of these: a Nabaztag WiFi rabbit. I didn’t set this one up; my colleagues did, using wget to post messages to the rabbit via a web interface. Plenty of people have had the same idea; for small teams I think it works fine.
After the team ramped up you couldn’t really hear our little bunny: the person who shared a desk with him would come and tell you if you broke the build.
What I like over the traditional lava lamps is the density of information that this little bunny can give the team.