Auto company Toyota will be releasing a small (handheld) robot, which they are dubbing a ‘communications partner’; where the little gadget will be able to make hand gestures, carry on conversations with humans, and even be alerted to human emotions. Named Kirobo Mini, the robot stands just ten centimeters tall and will be released in Japan in 2017. The entire concept of Kirobo was designed with the idea that the little robot could become someone’s constant companion, in a nation that deals with low birth rate numbers.
When launched, the tiny robot will be sold at choice dealers of the company and is operated via a smartphone app (is there any other way in this day and age). Kirobo has been developed to use its linked in features to work with individuals either in a car or at home, with a goal to create dialogue.
MSN reported a fine example of what the Kirobo Mini will be able to do is, when someone pulls into their driveway from work or perhaps a road trip, the little guy will be alerted to say something along the lines of, ‘that was a long drive’ or simply ‘welcome home’. As time goes by and the robot gets to know its owners’ preferences and dislikes, it will eventually tailor its comments to stir up discussion based on things that have occurred in the past.
This miniature robot has been created in part due to Toyota’s Heart Project, an initiative with a goal to foster human-like connections between machines and man.
Older versions of the robot measured at 34 centimeters and was once created by the University of Tokyo to join Koichi Wakata, which also happened to be the leader of the International Space Station at that point.
Toyota is following a similar path to another automaker, Honda, who in 2000 released Asimo, a humanoid robot. A little bit bigger than Kirobo, this device stands at 103 centimetres tall and it can see a person’s facial actions, plus also has the ability to climb up stairs.
When Kirobo Mini hits the Japanese market next year, it is estimated that it will cost approximately $367 U.S. dollars, plus tax.
Those that are lonely at heart, better start saving up.