Emotional Robot Pepper goes on Sale to public in Japan

The Japanese company SoftBank has announced that its humanoid robot Pepper that can recognize and respond to human emotions, goes on sale in Japan this weekend. SoftBank can make about 1,000 units available for purchase in the month of June, customers will be able to place orders for Pepper online starting from 10 am on June 20. Pepper can remember faces and is programmed to recognise human emotions. Pepper will not only be able to read emotions, it has evolved to have emotions. In addition to Pepper's emotion recognition functions, Pepper has capabilities to generate emotions autonomously by processing information from his cameras, touch sensors, accelerometer and other sensors within his “endocrine-type multi-layer neural network.” With this emotion function, Pepper's emotions are influenced by people's facial expressions and words, as well as his surroundings, which in turn affects Pepper's words and actions. Furthermore, a number of robot apps have been developed to make life fun with an emotional robot. For example, the ‘Pepper’s Diary’ links Pepper’s emotions with daily family events that are recorded with photos. There will be around 100 apps available for download at launch. The Pepper robot will sell for 198,000 yen ($1,600) These robots will be manufactured by FoxConn. And, the Chinese online retailer Alibaba is also partnering. Both are investing $118m in SoftBank's robotic division and will take 20% shares in the company. No date has yet been set for when Pepper will go on sale outside of Japan. Featuring more than 20 motors and highly articulated arms, Pepper is being promoted as a household robot, assisting elderly people. Japan has a rising elderly population, and the government is keen to use technology to help ease its overburdened healthcare system. But the critics of this robot are saying that it is not much useful for the elderly people as it can't lift anything. Video credit- SoftBank, AldebaranRobotics