Toyota Unveils Robot Baby 'Kirobo Mini' in Japan

Mon Oct 3, 2016 12:07:08

Toyota Motors will begin selling the KIROBO mini robot in Japan next year, potentially appealing to an ageing, shrinking population where human interactions for some have decreased.

Although project manager and engineer Fuminori Kataoka says KIROBO mini isn't targeting a specific demographic, its sale comes at a time when official data showed that Japan has 34.6 million people aged 65 and older, or 27.3 percent of the population - the highest proportion among advanced nations.

In Japan, companion robots have been quite popular.

The 10 centimeter (3.94 in) and 183 gram (0.002 lb) robot can have basic conversations for about 2.5 hours, after being charged for about three hours.

During a demonstration to the media, KIROBO mini responded to questions such as "Can you sing?" and "When is your birthday?", although at times it failed to give coherent answers.

KIROBO mini will also detect a person's presence, turning its head towards the person and use facial recognition to start conversations.

The conversations, along with where KIROBO mini is taken to, are recorded as data at multiple Toyota centre servers.

The robot will go on pre-sale this winter, for 39,800 yen ($392), with a monthly fee of 300 yen ($3) for dedicated applications at Toyota vehicle dealers in Tokyo and Aichi prefecture.

 SA - 12

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