Fri, Nov 16, 2007 - Page 21 News List

Aussie icon chosen as role model 南韓的機器無尾熊

A researcher with Kobie, a fluffy robot made in South Korea, Nov. 9, 2007.PHOTO: AFP
一位研究員九日與南韓研製的絨毛機器寵物柯比合照。照片:法新社

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)

南韓負責甄選他們新型電子寵物角色的研究員,最後選擇了澳洲的代表動物─無尾熊,因為無尾熊給人慵懶的形象。

但無論慵懶與否,據《韓國時報》報導,這個由電子通訊研究院研發的絨毛機器寵物「柯比」,對觸摸和聲音都有反應,甚至可以辨認人類的容貌。

製造者表示,柯比是目前南韓所製造最先進的電子寵物,並將為未來更聰明、友善且價格合理的人類電子伴侶鋪路。

OUT LOUD 對話練習

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.

Kate: Really?

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.

傑斯:我真的很想要一隻那種無尾熊電子寵物。

凱特:它們的確滿酷的,但那不太像是你會喜歡的東西耶。

傑斯:我其實是想送給我姪女,那會是一個很棒的禮物。

凱特:這樣啊?

傑斯:對啊,她一直想要養寵物,但她又對很多動物的毛髮過敏,無尾熊柯比就沒有這個問題了。

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."

如果我們說某物是「someone's bag」,表示這個東西吸引她或他,例如:「我不是討厭嘻哈,只是它不對我的胃口」。


資深研究員孫柱燦(音譯)在一段談話中說:「一旦你拍打柯比,它會表現出驚訝的樣子。但如果你一直打它,它就會表現出害怕的樣子。它還會猜你是否喜愛它。」

在柯比毛茸茸的骨架下,藏有可以偵測觸碰、光線、聲音和姿勢的感應器。它可以將這些訊號透過無線傳輸的方式,傳到鄰近的伺服器,例如個人電腦。

伺服器會分析這些訊號,再把適當的指令傳回柯比體內。但和其他動物比起來,研究員為什麼鍾情無尾熊這種長得像小熊且住在樹上的有袋動物呢?

「無尾熊以天性慵懶和動作緩慢出名,牠們大部份的時間都在睡覺,」孫說:「如果我們選擇狗,大家會期待這個機器人像狗一樣活潑愛動,但我們的馬達還沒有發展到那種程度。」

和其他內建電腦處理器、動輒要價三百萬韓元(約合新台幣十萬零六千八百五十元)的電子寵物相比,柯比的造價約一百萬韓元(約合新台幣三萬五千六百元),而且還不用餵它吃尤加利葉。

目前韓國沒有量產柯比的計畫。

(法新社/翻譯:袁星塵)

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