A four-foot tall humanoid robot called Pepper, made by a SoftBank company called Aldebaran, interacts with humans in hospitals, hotels and homes. Created originally in Japan back in 2014, Pepper is a 4-foot-tall, 62 pound humanoid robot that rolls around on wheels. Pepper, which costs upwards of $1,600.00, is built to communicate with people both as a personal assistance and for businesses to use for interactions with their customers. Each time a thousand Peppers are posted out on the market, they sell out instantly. As of May of this year, 7,000 units of the robot Pepper have been sold worldwide.
Perhaps you are wondering how Pepper really works. What is it capable of?
Pepper has the capacity to detect and react to humans. The robot was named for its “sparkling personality.” It features a remarkable ability to communicate via vocal commands and to interpret and react to human emotion. According to Aldebaran, “Pepper can identify joy, sadness, anger or surprise and respond appropriately, making interactions with humans incredibly natural and intuitive.” The robot has embedded 3D and 2 high definition cameras that help it process images. It can identify objects, faces, and the emotional states of the faces around him.
Pepper is a leading robot that interacts with humans outside of factory settings. The general consensus is that its ability to detect human emotion is a key differentiator to its success in this area. The popularity of consumer robots is predicted to explode: According to one research study, we can expect to see 31.2 million consumer robots sold annually by 2020. As of last year, the average was 6.6 million units.
Pepper’s unique ability to communicate has implications for a broad range of companies, institutions, and public sector areas. Nescafe hired 1000 Pepper robots in December of last year to help customers searching for a coffee machines in their appliance stores. In June of this year, Belgian hospitals began using Pepper to interact with patients. Pepper’s potential applications in business, education, research, and technological development are vast.
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