Imagine going for a nice afternoon stroll in the countryside and you come face-to-face with a red-eyed, howling wolf.
OK, so it may not be a scenario you come across in the UK (or at least if you do, you’d have a pretty good idea the wolf wasn’t real), but it’s a possible sight in Japan. Now the Japan Agricultural Cooperative has decided to introduce the Super Monster Wolf, a robotic dog with glowing red eyes and a rather scary howl that can be used to deter any intruders – whether humans or other animals.
The wolves are being used to protect rice and chestnut fields, with the Japan Agricultural Cooperative reporting significantly less crops have been lost since it started trialling the creatures in Kisarazu City in Japan’s eastern Chiba prefecture last year.
And it’s no surprise. Measuring 50cm tall and 65cm long, it starts howling in one of its 48 varieties of noises and its eyes start glowing as soon as something approaches. It runs on solar power to ensure its batteries need replacing as little as possible (something pretty key for a robot working in remote conditions) and can cover distances of up to 1km.
It’s been designed not to scare away humans as such (although we’re pretty sure any kind of creature would be suitably deterred), but wild boars, which are the biggest threat in Japan’s rural communities. They also really like chestnuts and rice, it would seem.
The Super Monster Wolf will go into mass production in April and will cost farmers 514,000 yen (around £3,480) if they want to start using it to stop intruders damaging their crops.