South Korean researchers seeking a role model for their new robotic pet have chosen Australia's iconic koala because of its laziness.
Lazy or not, Kobie - a fluffy robot made by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute - can react to touches and voice and can even recognize human faces, the Korea Times reported.
Makers say Kobie is by far the most advanced robotic pet made in South Korea and will pave the way for smarter, friendlier and more affordable robotic companions for humans.
"When you slap Kobie once, he acts as if he is surprised. But when you keep hitting him, he begins to show that he is scared," senior researcher Sohn Joo-Chan was quoted as saying. "He can calculate whether you like him or not."
Sensors to detect touch, light, sounds and posture are hidden in Kobie's furry frame and transmit signals wirelessly to a nearby server such as a personal computer.
The server analyzes the signals and sends back appropriate orders to Kobie's body. But why choose a koala, a marsupial that looks like a small bear and lives in trees, in preference to other animals?
"Koalas are known as lazy and slow animals that sleep a lot," Sohn said. "If you choose a dog robot, people will expect it to act like a dog. But the motors are not good enough for that."
Kobie can be manufactured for about one million won (NT$35,600) compared to at least three million (NT$106,850) for robot pets with built-in brains, and doesn't even have to chew eucalyptus leaves.
There are no current plans to mass-produce Kobie.(AFP)
Jez: I'd really like to get my hands on one of those koala robots.
Kate: Yeah, they're pretty cool. It doesn't really strike me as your bag though.
Jez: Actually I'm thinking it would make a fantastic present for my niece.
Jez: Yeah, she really wants a pet, but she's allergic to lots of animals' fur. Kobie the koala would really get round that problem.
your bag 喜歡的類型
If something is someone's bag it is something that appeals to him or her. For example: "I don't disapprove of hip-hop, it's just not my bag."