SoftBank - Humanoid Robot "Pepper" with Artificial Intelligence out for sale in 2015

In 2015, you could become best friends with an amiable and attentive humanoid robot, like the relationship of Nobita and Doraemon (minus the Yojigen-poket)!

SoftBank's CEO Masayoshi Son proudly unveiled their humanoid robot with artificial intelligence (AI) named Pepper today. The French robot developing company, Aldebaran Robotics, acquired by SoftBank in 2012 and part of the 'Softbank Group,' has developed Pepper for 2 years.

More surprisingly, it will be released to the public for ¥198,000 (which is equivalent to USD 2,000) in February 2015. We will be able to have our own personal humanoid robot at home for a very reasonable amount of money.

As CEO Son started his presentation with the sentence: "Today is a day of giving emotions to a robot for the first time in human history", Pepper is the world's first robot with an emotional recognition ability.

During the CEO's presentation, we witnessed the conversation between CEO Son and Pepper. It showed very well how natural the robot and human can interact. Pepper even made the audience laugh quite often:

Son: You are capable of recognizing human emotions for the first time in robot history, aren't you?

Pepper: Don't raise the bar, president. I cannot handle the pressure well. When I get broken, you should expect that I was crushed by expectations. Everyone, please write in an article that Pepper is not good under pressure.

Complete Event Gallery Here

Pepper is a 120cm tall humanoid robot. Although he is not a robot walking with two legs, he moves on a leg with wheels. He holds a display that looks like an iPad on his chest. In addition to his emotion recognition ability, there is a distance recognition function using infrared ray and a direction recognition function using a microphone.

Pepper quantifies human's emotions such as happiness or sadness and learns what is good or bad. For example, he will know that it's a good thing when someone is thankful to him or it's a bad thing when someone is unhappy with him. These quantified emotions are accumulated in the Cloud and he improves with this collective knowledge at an accelerated pace.

In addition to interaction with the CEO and the guests from the SoftBank commercials who appeared on the stage, Pepper gave a performance of his amazing skills like shooting photos, auditioning people, humming, rapping and a body-waving move.

Complete Event Gallery Here

The life of Pepper's battery is around 12 hours. This is a major improvement over existing bipedal robots, which, according to CEO Son, are capable of running only for 30 minutes to one hour.

Here's the rapping Pepper

The Chinese company, Foxconn, well-known as a manufacturer of iPhone and iPad, will play a role in the production process for Pepper.

Pepper also has an ability to install applications that external developers build. SoftBank is planning to hold a conference for developers sometime in September and provide an SDK (Software Development Kit).

How Pepper acted today was based on a scenario assigned by an application installed in advance. It's a bit disappointing to hear that after I was so thrilled by watching Pepper seemingly free-communicating. But, CEO Son said that Pepper will be capable of establishing 70-80% of a natural conversation.

Two days ago, Softbank sent out an invitation for today's event, which took place at the Maihama Amphitheater in Chiba, and the invitation had minimal information about what we could expect. In fact, there was a rumor that they might talk about their entry into the robot business, but who could imagine they would impress so many of us with this adorable and smart humanoid robot? It is certain that SoftBank is getting into some very advanced business and technology, and we haven't seen anything like this from the 2 other major Japanese telecommunications carriers, NTT docomo and au by KDDI.

Pepper will start working as one of the staff at both the SoftBank Ginza store and Omotesando store on June 6. He is a pretty interesting guy. You should meet him in person!

Complete Event Gallery Here


Japanese Robots at AkihabaraNews



Related Articles

Nissin NoodleBot -

Instant noodles, Top Ramen in particular, are perhaps best known as a symbol of the struggling college student, the underemployed and/or lazy bachelor, or simply the food of last resort - but not in Japan. Here there’s a clear, unabashed romance between Cup Noodles and robots. 

• • •

Japanese Technology from the Future SATURDAY but was Supposed to Be Friday!

This week it’s Japan thinking about investing a bunch of cash and tech into cancer treatment in India, which is nice, NTT Data Canada has significantly upped some jobs predictions in Nova Scotia, and even we're saying "NTT Data Canada?", and SCHAFT Robotics has left the DARPA building, which is kind of a bummer, but intriguing. 

• • •

Taihei Environmental Science Center has developed a system that automatically performs water quality testing, and can detect bacteria such as E. coli. In the past, this work had to be done manually. The system uses three robots to completely automate all stages of the process, from collecting a predetermined amount of the sample, injecting agar, agitating, coagulating and inverting, to the placement and storage of the culture in incubators. This level of automation not only eliminates human error, substantially improving test accuracy, it also increases processing capacity.

A train festival will be held from August 9 through August 17 at LaLaport Yokohama in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. The main display at the event will be a Shinkansen (bullet train) transforming robot called "Project E5".

Project E5 is made based on JR East's E5 series Shinkansen. It was exhibited to the public at the Tokyo Toy Show 2014, which took place in July, and became very popular. - Diginfo - Kosmek robotic hand changer

KOSMEK has developed a robotic hand changer that can switch between robot tools automatically - and with high precision. 

Unlike the previous robots in the OMNIBOT series, which are obedient and easy to control, Hello!DINO sometimes becomes naughty. Especially when you pull its tail, it will go berserk and begin roaring, biting and chasing you.
ASIMO Goess Hanami -
The Japanese and anyone else lucky enough to be here are celebrating an intermittently occurring secular holiday that spans an entire month. Various gatherings, parties, festivals, and no-real-reason-necessary events with groups from a just a few people to several thousand are currently being held across the entire nation. One famous robot, too.

Reno J. Tibke - July 04, 2014

The Best Transformers Movie of 2014... (VIDEO)

AkihabaraNews MICROCAST

Skeletonics at Maker Faire: Tokyo 2013 -

In addition to our exclusive close-up footage of Team Skeletonics' human-powered exoskeleton, luckily we also collected a few wide angle and close-up stills. Yeah, we've kinda been fawning over Skeletonics of late. But for good reason: you won't believe what they're working on.

Associate Professor Toshiaki Tsuji's Laboratory at Saitama University has developed R-cloud, a rehabilitation support robot that enables users to view how their own muscles move during rehabilitation and training.

Okay, Trask Industries, We're Infected - What's a Sentinel Robot?
Taking a lesson from the very successful campaigns of films like District 9 and Prometheus, Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past has hit the internets with a slick, sincere Trask Industries website. In the X-Men universe, Trask Industries makes 30ft/9m-tall robotic mutant hunters known as "Sentinels."