Robots as companions: are we ready?
Some people on Earth seem to think so. In fact, they believe in the concept so much, they are actually building the world’s first personal robot that can read and respond to human emotions. Collaboration between French robotics firm, Aldebaran and Softbank mobile (1) from Japan, you may already know one of Aldebaran’s existing robots, Nao (2) (Figure 1). The new robot is called Pepper, and is due to launch in Japan in February 2015 (3), and is priced at 198,000 Yen. Using today’s exchange rates that are approximately $1,681 and £1,074, although only the Japanese launch has been confirmed for now. Pepper may be sold in the USA through Sprint stores at some point (4). The notion of a robot in your home that can interact with you, and even tell you a joke if you’re feeling sad, which attracted my curiosity. So much so, that in September 2014, I hopped on a train from London to Paris.