Japanese firm Softbank has unveiled a robot called Pepper, which it says can read human emotions.
It uses an “emotional engine” and a cloud-based artificial intelligence system that allows it to analyse gestures, expressions and voice tones.
The firm said people could communicate with it “just like they would with friends and family” and it could perform various tasks.
It will go on sale to the public next year for 198,000 yen ($1,930; £1,150).
“People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart,” Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Softbank, said at a press conference.
The machine will be on display starting Friday at Softbank retailers.
* This robot is part of wave of new higher capability and affordable robots for home and business
Softbank has a high target of making this robot able to independently babysit children and attend to elder care. If they can actually succeed with those a large part of those capabilities then that would mean potentially over 100+ million in unit sales over many years and broad global societal impact. It does not seem capable of that level of success now, so part of it is getting enough initial traction and filling certain capability niches to gain momentum.
Softbank has a 48 page pdf presentation.
Japans overall robotics market was worth about 860bn ($8.4bn; £5bn) yen in 2012.
And with a rapidly ageing population, coupled with a falling birth rate, the demand for robots is expected to increase further.
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