The Orihime home aims to be an avatar for your home, when you’re out and about. Whereas a typical telepresence robot will display your image on a screen, the Orihime avatar will convey your emotions and actions. We’re a little unsure as to how a user would actually control the avatar, though software with pre-programmed body language movements or facial recognition software wouldn’t be out of the question.
Orihime was originally designed as a complete humanoid robot, (see video below) with nearly 30 servos. As most higher end humanoid robots used in research go upwards of $12,000 using 20 servo motors, there is likely a limited market for it. Wanting to usher Orihime into homes, the Japanese researchers reduced him to the basics, leaving just a head, neck, and base. With two degrees of freedom it provides some basic desktop mobility, however the lack of arms is a hindrance, since many people talk and convey emotion with their hands, you are really just left with head nods.
While Orihime does operate using an app, it might be a difficult comprehend a facial expression as compared to similar avatar like bots, like say Fritz. While a bit more difficult to control, emotions using facial expressions are conveyed much better with eyebrow and lip movement.
Photo credit: Orylabs