This $1,600 ’emotional’ robot will be available to buy from Saturday
It’s the stuff dreams are made of, but it doesn’t come cheap. From Saturday, consumers can buy a singing, dancing robot of their very own for US$1,600 (198,000 yen).
Technology company Softbank’s Pepper robot is going on sale in Japan at the weekend, equipped with a “heart,” designed to not only recognize human emotions but react with simulations of anger, joy and irritation.
The robot, which has no legs but has a hairless head and moving arms, went through a year of software development after being announced.
It can do some pretty cool stuff, though it is not designed for menial tasks.
“Of course there is a need for mechanical robots that are strong and can perform physical work,” SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said at a briefing Thursday. “We think there is value in a robot that can understand human feelings.”
Pepper robot was initially conceived as a companion for children and the elderly, but Softbank says apps are also being developed for use in business environments.
Son said the company was preparing for a global sales launch with partners Alibaba Group of China and FoxConn of Taiwan, which will each take a 20 percent stake in Softbank’s robotics unit.
The company will also offer a service plan for 14,800 yen a month, which will give users access to cloud-based voice-recognition and an app store. Bloomberg reported Thursday that Softbank is selling the robot at below manufacturing cost, and expects to make profits from the app store.
You can check out Pepper robot in action below:
Additional reporting from Associated Press
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