Pepper the humanoid robot is so hot that he sold out within a minute, according to his Japanese creator, SoftBank Robotics Corp.
Only 1,000 models were available for the consumer launch on Saturday in Japan. The base price was set at ¥198,000 ($1,600) with an additional ¥24,600 ($200) monthly data and insurance fees.
Standing just under four feet tall, and weighing 61 pounds, Pepper is designed to read emotions as well as recognize tones of voice and facial expressions in order to interact with humans. But most of all, “he tries to make you happy,” Kaname Hayashi, Softbank’s project manager, told CNN last year.
With his array of cameras, touch sensors, accelerometer and other sensors in his “endocrine-type multi-layer neural network,” Pepper has the ability to read your emotions as well as develop his own. He isn’t a work robot, but more of an emotional companion for people.
Pepper has his own evolving emotions which “are influenced by people’s facial expressions and words, as well as his surroundings,” according to SoftBank. “Pepper is at ease when he is with people he knows, happy when praised and scared when the lights go down.”
Developers admit that the robot may make mistakes, but says Pepper will learn and grow over time through his own emotional engine and collective wisdom gained through collected cloud data.
Pepper currently has the ability to speak English, French, Japanese and Spanish. In the next few months, there will be more language releases in its app store, which already has around 200 apps.