Tokyo mobile phone operator Softbank is is soon to launch a robot named “Pepper” which can not just recognise human emotions but also react to them.
The robot itself was show to Japanese journalists on stage a a Tokyo theatre this week. He came out onto stage, talked to celebrities, made a dance and also sang a birthday song, as well as showed off his emotional side.
Pepper, the joyful robot
Pepper is a humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile designed with the ability to read emotions. It was introduced in a conference on 5 June 2014, and has been showcased to the public at Softbank mobile stores in Japan since 6 June.
The robot, sorry, Pepper, has code that allows him to respond to what you say, and is said to detect joy, surprise, anger, doubt and sadness from facial expressions and body language, and the words that the owner says. Apparently, if he thinks you’re feeling down he might try to play your favourite song.
The robot also apparently learns over time and will adapt to the owner’s tastes and personality. He can remember faces and becomes ‘happy’ when given attention but depressed when not. The CEO of Softbank, Masayoshi San, said he was inspired by the Japanese cartoon character Astro Boy, who didn’t have a heart.
He also said that the world has robots to help with manufacturing, but “Our vision is to offer a robot with love”.
Pepper will be on sale from 20 June for 198,000 yen ($1600), with sales limited to Japan at first but expanding overseas in 2016.