But, because we are talking about Japan, let’s now talk about a new competitor for EMIEW2, the Pepper robot. No, it doesn’t grind fresh pepper, but it too was designed to decipher human emotions, to gesture, move, answer question and even sing. Is this the next best 3CPO the world got its hands on? Let’s see what the Pepper robot can actually do.
Now that you succumbed to its charm, let’s continue. First things first, it was parented by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son. He doesn’t believe in robots as weapons of mass destruction, but in robots as people companions, cute ET’s that can entertain the family and replace any animal pet. Mr. Son gave the green light to the product via its mobile company Softbank and already promised that Pepper would become available for mass consumption in Japan next February.
The little cute Pepper robot still has a lot to learn when it comes to human emotions, but it showed off some cute skills nonetheless. According to the journalists covering the issue,
The 121 centimeter (48 inch) tall, 28 kilogram (62 pound) white Pepper, which has no hair but two large doll-like eyes and a flat-panel display stuck on its chest, was developed jointly with Aldebaran Robotics, which produces autonomous humanoid robots. Besides featuring the latest voice recognition, Pepper is loaded with more than a dozen sensors, including two touch sensors in its hands, three touch sensors on its head, and six laser sensors and three bumper sensors in its base. It also has two cameras and four microphones on its head and has Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking capabilities.
Don’t for a second think that with all the shortcomings featured by Pepper, the robot won’t record spectacular success and sales. We are talking about a culture not only obsessed with robotics, but with cuteness too. So put these two features together and imagine that a lot of Japanese will spend 198,000 yen (approximately $1,900) to have one of these babies around their homes.
Are you worried about the technical qualities of the Pepper robot? Don’t be! Pepper was developed by French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics and will be produced by Apple’s major tech partner, Foxconn. Unfortunately, people outside Japan won’t be able to purchase their own cute android companion too soon, although Mr. Son said that exporting the robot was an idea worth considering.