A Japanese company has announced plans to begin selling Pepper, a ‘human-like robot’ for personal use, starting next year — as a way to address the needs of the country’s rapidly growing elderly population.
Announcing the news of June 5, Japan’s SoftBank Corp said it envisions the robots to address labour shortages in one of the world’s fastest ageing societies. The robots, it added, could potentially serve as baby-sitters, nurses, emergency medical workers or even party companions.
Available from Feb 2015 onwards for ¥198,000 (RM6,212), Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son told a news conference that the robots are capable of learning and expressing emotions. Accompanting Son to the briefing, the sleek waist-high robot named Pepper spoke to reporters in a high-pitched, boyish voice.