Softbank’s Pepper Robot Knows to Feel



The concept of zombie-like, mechanical robots is a thing of the past.  A new Gen robot with the ability to recognize human emotions and respond with simulated anger, joy or irritation by autonomously processing information collected via its sensors and cameras.  The robot was launched in Japan and is soon to hit the markets for sale by Softbank Corp.

After a yearlong software development exercise, a robot that moves on wheels was on display to reporters and guests. Though leg-less, the bald-headed robot has movable arms.  The robot glided gracefully to the stage talked with the celebrity gathering, it danced and even sang a song and demonstrated how it can record events as photos and be a faithful companion.  It showed emotions of joy when praised or stroked. The robot named Pepper can remember faces and is also programmed to become depressed when it’s not attended to.  It can also cheer up depressed people and try to reduce suffering.

Apart from its price tag, the robot attracts a monthly service fee of 14,800 yen ($120)  and a maintenance insurance of 9,800 yen ($80).

Softbank Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said the company was preparing for a global sales launch with partners Alibaba Group of China and Foxconn of Taiwan.