Video: Nescafé uses new humanoid robot to help sell coffee machines

Pepper the robot will go on general sale to the public in February and cost just over £1000

Coffee giant Nescafé has unveiled a new humanoid robot that will be used to help sell the company’s latest coffee machines.

At the launch on Monday, Nescafé’s newest member of staff, the robot named “Pepper”, was presented to the press ahead of it being placed in some of Japan’s largest department stores.

Reports said that the Swiss company would be initially purchasing 20 of the robots, created by tech conglomerate Soft Bank, to help sell Nescafé’s Dolce Gusto and Barrista coffee machines, with the company predicting a further 1000 to be introduced by the end of next year.

The robot, which is apparently capable of learning and expressing human emotions, has been programmed to help sell the products by providing information on the specifications of machines, as well as reciting quips and jokes with customers. During the launch, Pepper showed that it was “not just there to make the coffees”, entertaining those present with jokes and rhymes.

Speaking to the press, Pepper said: “Dolce Gusto and Barrista are at the cutting edge of technology, I am a machine at the cutting edge of technology, a machine at the cutting edge of technology selling machines at the cutting edge of technology; don’t you think that is futuristic and cool?”

Pepper was unveiled in June by SoftBank when over 70 of the machines were placed in the company’smobile phone shops.

The robot proved an immediate hit, meeting and greeting customers as they arrive in the store.

Nescafe soon followed suit, with the announcement that they would be purchasing 1000 of the robots for their stores.

SoftBank’s Vice President, Kenichi Yoshida, said that this was the start of the journey for Pepper and that he hoped that Pepper would be appearing in a number of family homes in the New Year.

He said: “We are developing Pepper to offer him as a new family member, not just as a housekeeping or labour assisting robot,” adding, “We hope people expect a great deal from Pepper when he goes on sale next year.”

It is unclear how much Nescafé paid for the machines, but according to reports, the Pepper robots are set to cost 198,000 yen (£1162.352) when they go on general sale to the public in February 2015.

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