Personal robot that shows emotions sells out in 1 minute

Japan's SoftBank Robotics sells 1,000 Pepper robots on Saturday

Pepper robot

SoftBank Robotics  said 1,000 units of its personal robot Pepper sold out in one minute on June 20, its first day of consumer sales.

Credit: SoftBank

If there was any question as to whether people were excited to get their own personal robot, the answer is clear now.

SoftBank Robotics Corp., an international company based in Japan, put 1,000 personal robots, priced at $1,600, on sale on Saturday. Within one minute, they were sold out. Customers also must pay a $120 per month cloud connection fee and and monthly insurance of $80.

It was the first time that SoftBank had allowed people to put in orders for the robot, dubbed Pepper.

There has been high interest in the robot's launch because its creators say Pepper not only can read and respond to human emotions but it will have its own emotions. According to SoftBank, the robot can autonomously generate emotions by processing information from its cameras and sensors.

SoftBank said more sales will be announced next month.

"With this emotion function, Pepper's emotions are influenced by people's facial expressions and words, as well as his surroundings, which in turn affects Pepper's words and actions," the company said in a statement. "For example, Pepper is at ease when he is around people he knows, happy when he is praised, and gets scared when the lights go down."

The robot is designed to raise its voice or can sigh depending on its emotions at the moment. Pepper also will show its emotions – based on different colors and motions – on a chest display.

The robot also has an ecosystem of more than 200 apps.

Last week, SoftBank announced a deal to team deal to team with Foxconn Technology Group, an Apple manufacturer, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to build and sell robots for the home and enterprise worldwide.

SoftBank will retain 60% of its company but for an investment of $118 million U.S. each, both Foxconn and Alibaba will receive 20 percent stakes in the robotics maker.

This story, "Personal robot that shows emotions sells out in 1 minute" was originally published by Computerworld.

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