Like so many Japanese firms, Softbank plays in many industries, and it has added robotics to the mix. The company recently introduced Pepper, built on technology Softbank acquired from the French robotics company Aldebaran.
Pepper can communicate through emotion, speech or body language. It has microphones and proximity sensors that not only understand what you are saying but can sense the tone of your voice to get a read on your mood. Overall, its vocabulary is 4,500 words, all of them Japanese at this point.
Pepper's facial-recognition technology, cameras, and sensors allow the robot to learn how to behave over time, rather than having to be programmed for specific tasks. It's also said to have some kind of cloud-based AI engine that helps it learn.