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Foxconn to help Japanese firm sell robots around the world

What guise will robots of the future take? Some see as them as faceless automatons, capable of performing basic tasks for us, whilst the Supermatrix predicts a future where they’ll be actively concious but subdued through a dream within a dream. SoftBank Mobile however believes robots can be our friends before they do our bidding, which is why it launched its Pepper robot in Japan last year and is now partnering with Foxconn and Alibaba to help sell it around the world.

Pepper doesn’t perform any particularly useful tasks around the house or office, but he can read facial expressions and judge emotions based on language and tone of voice and can react accordingly. If you are sad, he might engage you in conversation or play your favourite song to cheer you up. Over time he learns your emotions and different moods and can compliment or help alleviate them depending on your preferences.


To date he’s mostly been used as a greeter in Softbank stores, but there are other potential uses such as babysitter, party greeter, serving staff or a companion for the elderly. It’s expected that retailers may be some of the most interested in Pepper, but that there are plenty of other applications for him where end users and other organisations may see him as a good fit for the role.

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Projected costs for the robot are expected to be $1,660 (£,1044) up front, followed by monthly payments of £125 to cover ongoing insurance coverage (should it fall over and break) as well as access to the cloud processing facilities required to make many of Pepper’s more complicated analysis and decisions.

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KitGuru Says: I want one. I spend all day typing away alone in my house with only a couple of prairie dogs for company. If this little guy could actually make tea, he’d be well worth the money. 

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