Japanese Robots: Pepper Gallery!
LISTEN INSTEAD OF READING
This is Not Sci-Fi
Since the big public reveal in early June, SoftBank's been working hard to nail that point. This new robot, Pepper, it isn't another dream/research project that'll remain largely confined to a lab, then occasionally trotted out in public like so many ASIMOs. No, SoftBank wants us to know that this is real, it's "SFじゃない - Ess Eff jah nigh," a catchphrase used from day one - it means "This is Not Science Fiction."
Editor's Note Just for Fun
We don't know exactly why the Japanese adopted the romanized "SF" as their Sci-Fi, but it's an easy guess. See, pronouncing "science fiction" in Japanese is an oral and aural mess: while just 4 simple syllables in English, it's actually 7 awkward mouth backflips in Japanese. So like, there you go.
Pepper isn't Coming; Pepper is Here
As we recently shared on our Instagram feed, showing Pepper to the public hasn't been limited to SoftBank's flagship Tokyo stores, in fact tens of Peppers are already out and about around the country. SoftBank plans to begin offering Pepper to the public early next year for under $2000.00, and by all accounts thus far, it's not sci-fi.
Aldebaran Robotics, the company behind Pepper (acquired by SoftBank in early 2012), also has teams working to further the emotion-reading robot's capabilities, and perhaps much more intriguingly, plans to release a developers' kit and build an app store for Pepper. The former is great, the latter is potentially game-changing.
We'll keep readers hip to Pepper-related news and developments, but for today we're just showing a few pretty pictures. From our home base here in the big, big city, Tokyo's Harajuku SoftBank store offers the best opportunity for observation and documentation. We did so last month, with some very special accompaniment. To quote ourselves:
"The two ladies...aren't mere civilians. ...On the right is our PR contact from GM Japan (Corvette, anyone?), and on the left is Dr. Angelica Lim, who specializes in robot emotions and is part of the Aldebaran/SoftBank team working on Pepper's UX and app development."
As was also said at the time, it was a lovely day for one robodorky writer. Here are a few sample images, the gallery link is just below!
Pepper congratulates the world for getting to 8:00PM
The ladies mentioned above
Pepper welcomes customers to a rather obscure, back-alley SoftBank shop in the southern city of Fukuoka
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[A few photos were shot with an iPhone 5s, so blame Apple and the ferociously mediocre photographer, not the RX100!]