TORONTO – Pepper, the emotional humanoid robot designed to react to human emotions, sold out within minutes of going on sale in Japan over the weekend.
Only 1,000 Pepper models were available for the launch, with a price tag of ¥198,000 (U.S.$1,600) and an additional ¥24,600 (U.S.$200) for monthly data and insurance fees.
The robot is designed to not only recognize human emotions, but also react with simulations of anger, joy and irritation.
Standing just 48 inches tall and weighing 62 pounds, Pepper has no hair, but has two large doll-like eyes and a flat-panel display stuck on its chest. Besides featuring the latest voice recognition, Pepper is loaded with more than a dozen sensors, including two touch sensors in its hands, three touch sensors on its head, and six laser sensors and three bumper sensors in its base.
In a live demo last week, Pepper conversed with celebrity guests, did a dance, sang a birthday song and demonstrated how it could record family life in photos, and serve as a companion.
Pepper evolves his own emotions by reacting to people’s facial expressions, words and surroundings.
WATCH: Pepper shows off his skills
“Pepper is at ease when he is with people he knows, happy when praised and scared when the lights go down,” according to the robot’s designer SoftBank Robotics Corp.
While Pepper can currently speak English, French Japanese and Spanish, SoftBank has not yet announced plans for sales outside of Japan.
The company also plans to launch a business version of the robot dubbed “Pepper for Biz” in the fall.
– With files from The Associated Press