Japanese 'robot with a heart' will care for the elderly and children
The robot dubbed 'Pepper' will go on sale in February for £1,150 and uses a cloud-based AI system so that units learn from one another
Thursday 05 June 2014
Japanese technology giant SoftBank has unveiled a robot they claim is capable of understanding human emotions using an “emotional engine” and cloud-based AI.
Standing roughly a metre tall with a tablet computer fixed to its chest, ‘Pepper’ will go on sale to the public next year for 198,000 yen (£1,150), with its creators hoping it will be using in a range of roles from caring from the elderly to baby-sitting.
"People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart. For the first time in human history, we're giving a robot a heart," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said at a news conference.
Pepper reportedly learns from human interactions, with each experience helping to teach a cloud-based AI shared by all units. It has fully articulated arms and hands but moves about on wheels hidden under a curved plastic skirt.
Japan has one of the world’s largest robot markets worth about 860bn yen (£5bn) in 2012. This is expected to triple to 2.85 trillion yen by 2020, with the country’s rapidly ageing population and falling birth rate increasing demand for workers, especially in the care industry.
Over 22 per cent of Japan’s population is currently aged 65 or older and many companies are working on robots that can assist the elderly. Although some have human-like limbs to help move and carry objects, others are designed to offer therapeutic care instead.
One of the most popular robots in the country is Paro, a furry, seal-like bot programmed to bond with its owners and show emotions such as happiness and surprise. SoftBank’s Pepper seems designed to offer both types of helping hand – the mechanical and the emotional.
Life & Style blogs
iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
Exclusive interview with Jourdan Dunn: Mother, one of the world's best-paid models and ambassador for sickle-cell disease
No new blood and no fresh ideas at Milan Fashion Week: How do you solve a problem like Milano?
iOS 8: how to free up memory on your iPhone or iPad to install the update
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...