He's cute, knows when you've come into the room, can learn tricks, roll his eyes, and read and express emotions.

He is also, according to the creators of Cozmo, a tiny toy robot who will soon be available for the first time in New Zealand, alive.

"He recognises your face. He can tell if you're happy or sad," says Mark Bradley, Chief Operations Officer of Anki, creators of Cozmo.

"Our aspiration is that Cozmo will be the first true pet robot in the home."


So far, all dreams for the tiny toy bot have come true.

Developed over six years by Anki, the Silicon Valley tech company has seen great success with their Wall-E-style bot since its launch in 2016.

It launches in New Zealand next month, is available for pre-order now, and comes with a $359.99 price tag.

The company couldn't make Cozmo's fast enough in America to keep up with demand last Christmas, and they put his popularity down to one key function.

Cozmo is equipped with artificial intelligence, giving the cute bot the ability to learn and grow.

"We really want our consumers to form an emotional bond with our products," says Bradley.

"Once you start interacting with Cozmo every day, it takes it to a whole other level. You start to develop his character based on the kind of activities you do with him."

Cozmo isn't the only toy Anki are launching in New Zealand, with Overdrive, an app-driven car-racing game using real-life toys and a magnetic track system, landing in October. A starter kit retails for $309.99.

But it's Cozmo, with his cute voice, comical tricks and voice commands, that's likely to be a Christmas hit here - albeit one that's going to hurt the wallet.

But his creators say it's a wise investment: the bot receives monthly updates, is a great tool for kids learning coding, and is fun for all ages.

It leads to the big question: should we be scared of Cozmo's AI abilities? His creators say this isn't the beginnings of Skynet.

"Cozmo is a much more personal, small-scale version [of AI]," says Anki's executive producer Charlie Hite. "He's not here to tell you what to do. He's actually flawed in many ways: he gets lost, he gets stuck sometimes, he looks to you for help ... With Cozmo, you'll know what he's thinking.

"You will end up trusting him pretty quickly, because he's adorable."

Who: Cozmo
What: An AI robot toy
Where and when: Available for pre-order now, launching September 29 with an RRP of $359.99
Also: Overdrive, a car-racing game, launches October