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This 'emotional' robot sold out within the space of a minute

The first 1,000 units of Pepper sold out in its native Japan and more are being planned.

Pepper being revealed at a press conference last year.
Pepper being revealed at a press conference last year.
Image: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

A ROBOT CAPABLE of detecting human emotions sold out within the space of a minute after being made available in Japan.

The first 1,000 units of ‘Pepper’, a robot which costs 198,000 yen (€1,418), sold out after it was made available in Japan with more being planned for next month.

Unveiled last year, the four-foot robot, which is developed by robotics company Softbank, is able to recognise emotions from people like anger, joy and sadness.

It also uses voice recognition to analyse expressions, gestures and voice tones to help it learn and understand human interaction.  It comes with a tablet to show its own emotions, and it develops a personality based on how people interact with it.

It’s doesn’t handle physical tasks. Instead, it’s designed to be a household companion.

“This robot has been created to make people happy to interact with. He’s an emotional robot, not a functional robot for domestic use with dishwasher or vacuum cleaner functionalities,” explains the FAQ from Aldebaran, one of Softbank’s partners.

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Softbank plans to put another 1,000 units of Pepper on sale next month and plans to release it in other countries later this year.

The robot’s popularity is down to an aging population in Japan. In the latest report from the Japanese government, it found that 2.2 million households had at least one member who was 65 or older, making up 45% of all households. The percentage of men who are 65 and live alone has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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