Business / Tech

Showroom offers taste of what living with a robot will be like

Kyodo

What will it be like living with a humanoid robot that can read human emotions and exchange conversations with them?

SoftBank Group Corp. began displaying its popular Pepper robots at a house-viewing event in Osaka on Friday to give visitors a taste of such a lifestyle, with the round-eyed robots using friendly greetings such as “Hello” and “Did you have breakfast?”

Under a capital and business tieup formed in May with Yamada Denki Co., SoftBank is showcasing the robots, which sold out instantly when 1,000 units went on sale in June, at the Osaka showroom of Yamada Wood House Co., a subsidiary of the electronics and home appliance retailer.

Pepper can do more than talk if it becomes a live-in companion, according to SoftBank. It is technically possible to use Pepper to keep an eye on an elderly person and for security purposes.

Yamada Denki and SoftBank are considering launching a package deal in the future in which a house and a Pepper robot are sold together.

After being displayed in showrooms in Osaka until Monday, Pepper will be featured in a housing showroom in Tokyo on Aug. 1 and 2.

The white-bodied robot is claimed to be the world’s first robot capable of reading emotions via its camera, touch sensors and microphone.

Priced at ¥213,840, the first batch of 1,000 units sold out in just one minute after they went on sale online on June 20.

SoftBank will put another 1,000 units on sale next Friday, and will accept orders at its online shop from 10 a.m. that day.

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