Kobie is a robotic Koala Bear created by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea. It can react to touches, voices, and even recognize human faces. Kobie is the most technological robotic pet made in Korea. They hope that this toy will help to better create a smarter, friendlier, and more affordable humanoid robot.
Kobie uses sensors hidden inside his furry frame to detect light, sound, touch, and shift his posture. These sensors send a wireless signal to a server nearby, like a personal computer, which then analyzes the data and sends orders back to Kobie. His reactions are extremely lifelike, when the light is bright he squints’ his eyes, when he is touched roughly he shows fear, and when he is yelled at he hides his head. This robotic pet can actually figure out whether he is liked or not.
The ETRI of Korea chose a Koala Bear because of this marsupials known laziness. The idea was to create a pet animal that the owner didn’t expect to perform a lot of actions. If they had created a dog they knew the owner would expect the robot to have the ability to perform tricks, run, jump, and possess other canine qualities. But with a Koala Bear they knew the only expectation would be that of the reactions from one on one care given by the owner.
This technology is amazing and shows the possibilities of automated responses within other robots such as a humanoid. Kobie can be manufactured for approximately $1,104 USD, but currently Korea has no plans to produce them for retail purchase. The idea behind Kobie was for research and experiment. With such a cute gift item maybe Korea will go ahead and put Kobie on the market, I bet he would be a hot seller.
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