Earlier this summer Softbank announced the release of Pepper in early 2015. Described as being “the first humanoid robot designed to live with humans,” he isn’t exactly Rosie from the Jetsons. Softbank partnered with Aldebaran in early 2012, back when Aldebaran already had the NAO released. They had already started using the NAO with autistic children, teaching lessons, and changing the responses based upon the emotions it was understanding. The Pepper seems like the product that will further commercialize that same emotive technology.
The estimated price is just under $2000, which is surprisingly cheap as compared to a NAO which runs around $10,000. There are several indications of a service plan to keep Pepper running and connected to the internet. As Softbank owns Sprint, they already have the means for mobile connectivity. I can easily see they can launch it in the US via retail outlets and place some in stores as guides.
If you can’t wait until 2015 to checkout Pepper, visitors to the SoftBank Omotesando and SoftBank Ginza stores will be able to enjoy talking and interacting with Pepper, the newest member of the SoftBank crew. SoftBank Mobile plans to subsequently station Pepper at more of its stores nationwide.
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