Pepper, a new humanoid robot introduced earlier this month in Japan, may herald the beginning of a new era in personal robotics. Unlike its ancestors, such as Mitsubishi’s Wakamaru and Sony’s QRIO, who had to join the halls of robot extinction, Pepper, developed jointly by the French robotics company Aldebaran and the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, is here to stay.
Five years have passed since Aldebaran Robotics announced an ambitious joint project with over a dozen leading French research centres to make France one of the few countries to have developed an advanced humanoid robot. Finally, the robot, named Romeo, made its long-awaited debut at the Innorobo robotics fair, which was held earlier last month in Lyon.
We featured a previous post on one of the most emotionally literate robots in the world Nao, who was developed by Aldebaran Robotics and is currently being used by the ALIZ-E project scheduled to end this year. This cute robot has been tested at aged care facilities and proved helpful for such tasks as monitoring and reducing people’s anxiety levels by engaging with them emotionally.
Now, another European project is testing Nao in a slightly different role – that of a tutor. Needless to say, EMOTE, a three-year research project launched in 2012, also picked up Nao for his ability to empathise.