Asustek’s humanoid robot is likely to debut in 2016: firm’s chairman
Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. is developing a humanoid robot similar to Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank Corp.’s Pepper that is expected to debut next year at the earliest, according to company chairman Jonney Shih.
In an interview published on Monday by tech news site Engadget, Shih “teased” that he is personally driving a robotics project that aims to come up with a machine that can proactively interact with humans.
The new robot, developed in Asustek’s advanced research center called the Da Vinci Lab, may be launched in 2016 if the company can maintain its “very aggressive schedule,” Shih said.
A teardown of SoftBank’s Pepper robot in early July by Japan’s Nikkei Business Publication Inc. revealed that Pepper’s depthsensing camera is made by Asustek, but the Taiwanese company declined to confirm the report.
Also, a recruitment ad updated Aug. 3 on online job bank Yes123 said that Asustek is looking for one or two robotics hardware engineers to work at the company’s headquarters in Taipei — the location of its Da Vinci Lab.
“As an electrical engineer, you will have responsibility for the validation and characterization of consumer robotics products developed at Asustek, including embedded computer, robotics sensor components, and mainboard hardware,” said the ad.
SoftBank’s Pepper, priced at 198,000 Japanese yen (US$1,611) each, can not only read human emotions but also express feelings of its own that change according to how people interact with it.
The initial batch of 1,000 Pepper robots sold out in one minute on the first day of sales in Japan on June 20.