Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Japan's first emotional robot sells out in one minute

pepper2.jpg

Sixty seconds.

That's how long it took for SoftBank's emotional robot Pepper to shift its first 1,000 units in Japan. Hasn't anyone shown them The Matrix? Or I, Robot? Or Blade Runner? Or... well, any science fiction depiction of robots ever?

But then, with its lamp-like eyes and static smile, Pepper hardly presents an overt threat to humanity. It can't go up stairs for one thing. A household companion droid, Pepper's main function is to make people happy.

"He's an emotional robot, not a functional robot for domestic use with dish washer or vacuum cleaner functionalities," explains the manufacturer's website. "Pepper will help people grow, enhance their life, facilitate relationship, he will have fun with them, give some services and connect them with the outside world."

Capable of communicating in English, Japanese, Spanish and French, Pepper can interact with its owners via vocal commands and a touchscreen interface.

The touchscreen presents Pepper's emotional state, as well as providing a variety of interactions to tap your way through. Pepper can develop a personality through interaction with humans, presenting a "happy" demeanour when people talk to it, or becoming irritable if it is ignored. Think of it as a giant, plastic cat. Or dog. Or a seriously advanced Tamagotchi.

Revealed last year, Pepper finally went on sale on 20 June for £1,020. The Aldebaran sold out of its 1,000 models in a minute, with the next 1,000 models set to go on sale in Japan in July. A worldwide launch is planned later this year. 

Quite what happens if Pepper is left alone - or worse, is abuse by its owners - isn't really made clear. What does an "irritable" robot do? We're not willing to spend £1,020 to find out. 

Related

vr1.jpg

Hands on with five of E3's virtual reality demos

1.jpg

How to actually break the internet

cerebro.jpg

BBC Working On A Mind Control 'Remote'

mixer1.jpg

Bartesian is the Nespresso maker for cocktails

pod2.jpg

Elon Musk wants you to design his Hyperloop pod

twitterplay.jpg

Twitter Set To Be A Lot More Like Facebook

Comments

More

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Star Trek fans have a new reason to buy an Amazon Echo

They've done what you all wanted

24 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

16 best fitness gadgets to help you get into shape for 2017

Gadgets to get your sweat on with

by David Cornish
03 Jan 2017

An awesome paper cycling helmet wins Dyson design award

Only £4, and it'll save your life

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

Netflix finally confirms it's working on downloadable content

It's official, people

by David Cornish
03 Nov 2016