Pepper, first personal robot that reads emotions
French robotics company Aldebaran built the robot for SoftBank, the Japanese telecom giant, and it will be produced by Foxconn. Pepper is conceived as a communication and companion robot. The main goal was to make Pepper able to recognize people’s emotions by analyzing their speech, facial expressions, and body language, and then deliver appropriate responses. If you look sad, Pepper will try to cheer you up by playing one of your favorite songs.
People can meet Pepper at two SoftBank stores in Tokyo, and since Pepper’s creators know they can’t program the robot to behave perfectly in all situations, so they wanted the robot to learn on its own. The robots at SoftBank stores will start collecting data on their interactions with people. When Pepper tells a joke, it will observe if people laugh, for example. The robots will upload their data to a cloud-based repository. The data collection will continue when Pepper is used in homes.
Pepper can recognise your face, speak, hear you and move around autonomously. You can also personalise your robot by downloading the software applications that take your fancy, based on your mood or the occasion. Dance, play, learn or even chat in another language, Pepper adapts himself to you. Your robot evolves with you. Pepper gradually memorises your personality traits, your preferences, and adapts himself to your tastes and habits.
Pepper raises its arms to imitate the gestures of people, he is slightly nodding now and then, and when asked a question, rings around its eyes lit up, a sign it was actively listening. Pepper also respondes to touch with sensors under its skin and when patted on its head, Pepper said it feels like a cat. When the conversation is over, Pepper said, "No worries, have a wonderful day." Pepper will also high-five and fist bump, but its gestures and talk can be customized in many ways. If you're into robotics, look no further. ■
What to read next