SoftBank’s ’emotional’ Pepper robot sells out in just 60 seconds

pepper working in hospital softbank bot
If early indications are anything to go by, Pepper the “emotional” robot is going to be a seriously big hit with consumers in Japan. Maker SoftBank said it took just one minute to sell its first batch of 1,000 Pepper robots when it went on sale Saturday morning. Judging by the intensity of the 60-second sales rush, there’ll be no shortage of interest in the next batch either, which should be ready later this month.softbank pepper robot

SoftBank partnered with French robotics company Aldebaran SAS to create Pepper and is working with tech manufacturing giant Foxconn to manufacture it. The humanoid bot, which cost each of the 1,000 buyers 198,000 yen (about $1600), is expected to go on sale in the U.S. and Europe some time next year.

Standing 120 cm tall and tipping the scales at 29 kg, Pepper has been designed to understand human emotions by making sense of characteristics like facial expression, body language, and tone of voice, and then responding accordingly.

Speaking at a special event near Tokyo last week to launch the latest version of the unique robot, SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son said Pepper could comfortably act as a friendly companion and entertainer in the home thanks to its ability to sing, dance, and even tell jokes.

Businesses, too, will be able to use the bot to meet and greet customers, while schools and retirement homes are also expected to find applications for it.

Pepper was revealed to the world last year though has undergone many changes since then. Although the robot has always been able to understand the emotions of humans to a greater or lesser degree, the original Pepper was unable to respond with any emotion of its own. With an array of on-board sensors and newly developed software, however, that’s all changed.

Indeed, as the robot becomes increasingly familiar with the personality of its owner, its own personality will change over time, meaning no two Peppers will behave the same.

“People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart. For the first time in human history, we’re giving a robot a heart, emotions,” Son said when Pepper was first shown off to the public.

Smart Home

The robot invasion arrived at CES 2019 — and it was cuter than we expected

Robots are finally at our doorsteps, but they’re not here to annihilate us (yet), they’re here to be our friends. CES 2019 showed us some of the cutest robots we’ve ever seen. Here are some of our favorites.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Scribit graffiti robot climbs your walls to draw (and erase) giant artwork

Scribit, the wall-crawling graffiti robot that can draw any image you can think of onto a vertical surface of your choice, made its debut this week at CES 2019. Check it out in action.
Emerging Tech

Ubtech’s new and improved robot assistants take a bow at CES 2019

Chinese startup Ubtech has debuted its improved Walker humanoid robot and Cruzr service robot at CES 2019. Here's what distinguishes the new versions from their immediate predecessors.
Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.