And they are starting with the elderly! Behold! The greatest danger to the human race - A.I.
Okay, so the robots that have seemingly been taking over Japan this summer are actually people-cuddly. This week, Japan’s largest telecommunications company, NTT launched their tiny robots into the homes of older Japanese citizens. This is probably a direct response to Softbank’s Pepper robot, which hit the shelves this June.
Softbank, a rival telecom company in Japan, manufactured the first “robot with a heart” and sold out of stock in just one minute.
NTT’s little friend, Sota, is a whole lot cheaper (nearly $800, plus a monthly home service subscription of $30, whereas Pepper costs nearly double that) and a whole lot smaller (Sota sits at 11 inches tall, perfect for a table, whereas Pepper stands a lifesize four feet tall and wheels around your home).
It’s quite likely that Sota will be a lot more popular in the long run for these two reasons. Japanese homes tend to be smaller (and don’t have room for an additional four foot guest) and have difficult flooring for a robot on wheels (tatami mat flooring is not Pepper’s best friend).
Sota can communicate verbally with her user, and can also interact with the user’s wearable device to monitor blood pressure and heart rate. In fact, Sota is being heralded as the interface for the Internet of Things, because she can also turn on radios, televisions and lightbulbs.
In a slightly older video below, Sota acts as an English-Japanese tutor and even manages to hug her human when she gets home. She also reminds her human to charge her when her battery is low, by voice reminder and a red glow, where a human heart would be, appears on her chest.
No launch date as of yet, but it looks like these little guys are marching out to care for their humans in March of 2016.
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