Lazy Oz Koala inspires new line of cuddly robotic companions

November 14th, 2007 - 10:22 am ICT by admin  
Kobie, the robot made at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, can react to touches and voices. It can also recognise human faces.

The creation of Kobie has given its makers hopes that the robot 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, be begins to show that he is scared. He can calculate whether you like him or not,” quoted senior researcher Sohn Joo-Chan as telling the Korea Times.

The researchers have fixed sensors to detect touch, light, sounds and posture in Kobie’s furry frame. These sensors transmit signals wirelessly to a nearby server, such as a personal computer, which analyses the signals and sends back appropriate orders to the robot’s body.

Dr. Sohn revealed that his team chose the Koala as a role model for their new robotic pet because of the animal’s laziness.

“Koalas are known as lazy and slow animals that sleep a lot. If you choose a dog robot, people will expect it to act like a dog. But the motors are not good enough for that,” he told the newspaper.

The researcher has also revealed that Kobie can be manufactured for about 1187 dollars. They, however, do not have plans to mass produce the robot. (ANI)

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