Humanoid robot makes European debut in France
A humanoid robot, named Pepper, made its European debut, helping shoppers "with wine, and more" in a Carrefour shop in the Claye-Souilly region of France. According to Magali Cubier of Aldebaran Robotics, the test run involved seven such robots programmed to assess consumer satisfaction, or to do things such as suggest wine and food recipes. Pepper has a base price of JPY198,000 or $1,931.
The first humanoid automaton
An "automaton" was first described around 250 BC by the Liezi, and several attempts have been made since then. The WABOT-1, built in 1973 by Waseda University was the first full-scale anthropomorphic robot built in the world.
Pepper announced at a conference
Pepper, a humanoid robot capable of reading expressions, was developed by French company Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile. It was announced at a conference on 5 June 2014 in Japan, with plans to commercialise it by February 2015. Since its launch in Japan, over 4,000 Pepper robots have been sold, with Aldebaran selling a batch of 1,000 such robots on a monthly basis.
Sold out in 60 seconds
The first 1,000 units of Pepper went up for sale in Japan on 21 June 2015. According to makers Softbank, all 1,000 units sold out in under a minute, thus demonstrating what a promising market Pepper could potentially have.
What does Pepper have to offer?
Pepper, described as a "new species" of robots, has the ability to judge situations using sensors and algorithms, and estimate emotions based on facial and voice expressions. It has 12 hours of battery life and can acquire information via cloud databases. Apart from that, it sports the ability to avoid collisions and has autobalance. Several robot apps are also available on Pepper.
What does Pepper come equipped with?
Pepper's head has four microphones, two HD cameras, and a 3D depth sensor. The torso has a gyroscope, while the head and hands have touch sensors. The mobile base has two sonars, six lasers, three bump-sensors and a gyroscope.