This ChatGPT-powered robot koala bear is giving me serious Five Nights at Freddy's vibes

A robotic koala bear with ChatGPT integration, both on a desk and lit up in terrifying red
(Image credit: Spiritual_Aside_7859)

AI assistants have an image problem. While chatbots and virtual assistants like ChatGPT and Copilot might have their uses, there's something cold and unforgiving about a blinking cursor and a text response. Surely we could personalise them a little, and soften those hard, robotic edges?

What if, for example, you put one inside a cute little koala bear stuffed toy? Wouldn't that be lovely?

Wait. Not like this.

Reddit user Spiritual_Aside_7859 has created a Raspberry Pi-powered and ChatGPT-enabled stuffed koala bear (via Tom's Hardware), complete with motorised animations and some cheerful LED lights. If all of that sounds adorable, well, wait until you see it in motion.

The project makes use of a Raspberry Pi in tandem with an Arduino Uno R4 to interface ChatGPT with the onboard hardware. That includes an ultrasonic sensor to detect when objects are nearby and become aware of people in the room. 

Combine that with a mini OLED monitor jammed into the koala's eye-socket for "suspicious looks" and what you have here is less of a cuddly companion, and more something that looks like it may chase you down the corridor in the dead of night.

Ai Assistant from r/arduino

The bear is able to speak via ChatGPT's responses to text prompts, verbalised with the use of a text-to-speech app, although Spiritual_Aside_7859 is taking suggestions as to how the project overall could be improved.

Current future plans for the death koala—I mean ambitious project—include improving speech recognition and adding a mouth display. Worryingly, Spiritual_Aside_7859 says that the bear does have a form of speech recognition integration already, but it seemed to only hear them twice.

Buggy implementation, or feigned ignorance to induce a false sense of security? My money's on the latter.

What with that terrifyingly janky head movement—and a determination to make the bear appear both curious and disapproving towards humans—what's been created here seems to be less of a creative mix of AI and robotics and more something designed to scare small children. And terrify adults.

At this point I can only hope that it doesn't become capable of proper movement, as this project strikes as being a Roomba integration away from something that will haunt my dreams for some time to come.


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Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.