Robot koala is just like a real koala: cute and sleepy

Korean scientists wanted to make a realistic Robot pet, but weren't working with motors advanced enough to emulate an active and playful dog. Cats are similarly problematic. They may sleep for a lot of the day, but they are can also be quick and energetic hunters. Not so the koala, Australia's favorite marsupial, which spends about 19 hours of the day sleeping in trees and the other five munching on eucalyptus leaves. The scientists decided to start there and created Kobie, the realistically slow and sleepy robotic pet koala.

Kobie can react to human touch and voices, and can even recognize faces, which is probably more than real koalas can do. If you slap Kobie, he is at first surprised, then scared. It's not exactly artificial intelligence, but the stuffed animal takes input from its surroundings and beams it to a nearby computer, which analyzes the data and sends back commands to the robot with an appropriate response. The robotic koala costs around $1100 to build, but there are no plans for mass production yet.

The Age, via Popular Science