Saturday, 8 October 2016

Meet Kirobo Mini, Toyota's adorable new companion robot

Kirobo Mini

Toyota’s Robot – Companionship For Lonely People


Toyoto, the Japanese car maker has unveiled a robot which tends to provide companionship for lonely people. The doe-eyed robot is said to be only four inches tall and speaks in a high-pitched baby voice. The robot known as Kirobo Mini could also have a role as a baby substitute in Japan where the falling birth rates seems to have left several women barren. The Kirobo Mini sale prices is said to go for £300 in Japan.

General Manager in charge of the project, Fuminori Kataoka has stated that its value tends to be emotional and could be a faithful companion for the home or the car. He commented that `Toyota has been making cars which have a tendency to have a lot of valuable uses. However, this time we are just pushing emotional value’.

The Kirobo Mini features a camera, microphone together with Bluetooth that connects to a smartphone and needs to be installed with an exceptional software application. The Kirobo Mini robot is said to be launched in Tokyo, near the company headquarters in central Aichio region next year, before a schedule nationwide rollout. Presently there are no plans of selling the same outside Japan.

According to Kataoka, several people in Japan tend to live alone comprising of the elderly and young singles who seem to need someone or something to communicate with.

Softbank Corp Launched Pepper Humanoid


Mr Kataoka further commented that `this is not smart enough to be called artificial intelligence and the same is about the existence of something you can talk to. It tends to wobble a bit and is meant to compete with a seated baby that has not developed fully, the skills of balancing itself and this susceptibility is meant to invoke an emotional connection.

He goes on to add that a stuffed animal would not reply back though people do talk to it. But if it talked back, wouldn’t that be better? Isn’t this better than talking to a box?’ The awareness of companion robots has already been accepted widely in Japan. The Japanese technology and telecom company Softbank Corp had launched its £1,500 Pepper humanoid last year and the first batch of 1,000 had been sold instantly and so far had sold 10,000 in Japan.

Toyota Heart Project


With robotic experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the process of launching Jibo, a robot which tends to resemble a swivelling lamp, companion robots are being created in the United States also. Artificial intelligence is said to be a progressive part of the car production industry with the development of self-parking and eventually self-driving vehicles.

The aim of Kirobo Mini is to make people feel less lonely and had been developed as part of the Toyota Heart Project which is an initiative of helping in the development of artificial intelligence for improvement of the future world. It has been named after the Japanese word for `hope and talk, gesture besides responding to its owner’s emotions with the use of artificial intelligence and a camera that surveys its surroundings.

It is said to be so small that it can be placed in a car’s cup holder in a distinct, baby seat-like container, Toyota characterizes it as a cuddly companion which is always on hand for a heart-touching communication. According to Tribune reports it can turn its head towards people, laugh as well as talk to them though cannot recognize people.