A robot that can communicate, understand, and react to human emotions hit the consumer market with great success. So much so that Pepper, the humanoid robot, sold out in just one minute.
Developed by the Japan-based mobile and telecommunications company SoftBank and French Robotics company Aldebaran SAS, Pepper was released to the public at 10 a.m. on June 20. One short minute later, the entire stock of 1,000 robots in the first wave were sold. Consumers took home the caring robots for 198,000 yen ($1,610) each.
Pepper is the first robot in the world designed to live with humans. It recognizes voices, and can read facial expressions and body language, and is known for understanding universal emotions like joy, anger, sadness, doubt and surprise. That means if you are happy, it will be there to laugh with you, or if you are sad, it will know something is wrong.
While the social robot can sympathize with emotions, it may also be comforting (or scary) to know that Pepper can communicate with humans as well. He can express emotions (via a tablet) and will develop his own personality based on interactions, making him a cute and caring robot that will be there as a confidant and companion.
The 121-centimeter tall robot (just shy of 4 feet) will learn about its owner the more they interact with him, picking up on the person's tastes and interests. The owner can also learn a few things from Pepper as well.
While its price tag doesn't seem that bad for Pepper's abilities to communicate, learn and grow with its owner, the consumer will need a data package that costs about 25,000 yen ($200) a month to get the most out of the robot's apps and cloud-based functions, along with insurance.
The company did say it plans on producing about 1,000 units a month, and will branch out to the global market with a partnership with Foxconn Technology Group and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.