This robot knows how you feel
Meet Pepper: A 4-foot-tall cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions. The latest Japanese robot can also sing, dance and crack jokes, though is
Outliers assuming it won’t pose a threat to Hugh Jackman’s career.
While industrial and medical robots have been around for a while, the potential is great for intelligent machines as the number of elderly requiring care is expected to soar in coming years in rapidly aging Japan. Robotic technology is already used to check on the elderly and monitor their health and safety, but robots might also play a role in reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Pepper was unveiled recently in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son. Son’s mobile phone company, Softbank, said that the robot will go on sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900). Overseas sales plans are undecided.
The machine, which has no legs but has gently gesticulating hands, appeared on a stage in a Tokyo suburb, cooing and humming. It dramatically touched hands with Son in a Genesis or “E.T.” moment.
Son said that Pepper has been programmed to read the emotions of people around it by recognizing expressions and voice tones. “Our aim is to develop affectionate robots that can make people smile,” he told the Associated Press.
Besides featuring the latest voice recognition, Pepper is loaded with more than a dozen sensors, two cameras and four microphones on its head and Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking capabilities.