Japanese firm Softbank has unveiled a humanoid robot called "Pepper" which can read and react to human emotions
TOKYO, Japan -- The concept of WALL-E robots showing emotion to each other with incoherent bleeps is set to be taken to the human level as Japanese company Softbank is introducing its emotional robot to interact with people. Named "Pepper", the humanoid robot is capable of reading and understanding people's gestures, expressions and voice tones.
"People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart," Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Softbank, said at a press conference.
"For the first time in human history, we're giving a robot a heart, emotions. Our aim is to develop affectionate robots that can make people smile."
To do just that, Pepper is capable of "making jokes, dancing and amusing people" thanks to a wide range of entertainment capabilities.
Japanese telecom firm Softbank unveils "Pepper", its emotional humanoid robot
Cloud-based computing lends the robot its artificial intelligence, allowing people to communicate with it "just like they would with friends and family," according to Softbank, which intends to deploy the first prototypes of Pepper in its retail stores as early as Friday.
The advanced robot is set to become available for public purchase in Japan within the next few months, priced at 198,000 yen (US$ 1,930) with overseas sales plans currently being considered but not yet decided.
Softbank is entering the robotics business with its cooing, gesturing and sympathetic Pepper humanoid-on-wheels that it says is designed for companionship and can decipher human emotions. The Japanese mobile carrier said Thursday that Pepper will go on sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen or...