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This $45,000 robot dog can sense your emotions

Koda robot dog
(Image credit: Koda)

Nothing quite beats the companionship of your own pet, but that hasn’t stopped companies from trying to replicate it in robot form. The latest is Koda’s AI-powered robot dog.

It may not look much like an actual dog, but this robo-pooch has been designed to socially interact with its owner. That includes being able to sense how you're feeling, much like a real dog. Though it does cost about $45,000.

Koda is able to do tasks by using a “blockchain-enabled decentralized AI infrastructure." While that sounds like someone tried to cram all the buzzwords they could think of into a single sentence, this apparently means Koda can solve complex problems and learn new skills.

Blockchain’s decentralized nature should, in theory, also help keep user data private and make the Koda’s database difficult to hack.

The launch video promises that Koda can do all those things you might expect a dog to do, including acting as a family companion, seeing-eye dog and a guard dog. It also promises that it can act as a “powerful supercomputer that can solve complex problems." 

Considering how far-fetched that last claim sounds, we did check the calendar to see if April 1st had snuck up on us. Then again, this thing is $45,000, so who knows what sort of hardware it has lurking underneath that shiny gray shell.

The dog itself comes with 3D depth cameras on the front and sides of its body, while a 13MP camera can take high-quality photos. It also packs in a high resolution display, an array of sensors including four “foot force sensors”, a touch-sensitive head, and loudspeakers on each side. Koda can also reportedly recognize voiceprints with 97% accuracy. It also sounds like Wall-E from the looks of things, which is pretty damn cute.

While it could be easy to dismiss Koda, especially with the high price, the idea of a robot companion is pretty sound. We’re living in an age where people don’t get much face-to-face contact, and having a robot companion could easily be one way to beat loneliness. That, and you don't have to worry about it peeing on your couch. 

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.