Laughing robot will get a bigger bag of tricks
Updated: 2016-05-21 03:33
By Reuters in TOKYO(China Daily)
Pepper the robot interacts with Kazutaka Hasumi, director of the product division at SoftBank, at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday. Toru Hanai/ REUTERS TECHNOLOGY
The Japanese developers of a robot are asking the public to make suggestions on what their waist-high humanoid should be able to do, and they are offering a software development kit for programmers to get creative.
The fast-selling robot, known as Pepper, can already laugh and serve coffee and is being used as a waiter, salesman and customer service representative in about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle, Mizuho Bank and Nissan.
Now its creators, SoftBank Corp, have started offering a kit, Pepper SDK for Android Studio, that will allow programmers to develop new tasks.
The offer comes ahead of the July pre-sale launch of the robot in the United States.
Pepper, which costs 198,000 yen ($1,800), has been in high demand in Japan.
The first six batches of the robot, each averaging 1,000 units, sold out in less than a minute.
SoftBank Corp describes Pepper on its website as the first humanoid robot capable of recognizing principal human emotions and adapting its behavior to the mood of those with whom it interacts.