The latest iPhone edition. Rolling Stones tickets. An adorable and emotionally intelligent robot. These are things that sell out in no time flat. The last one – called “Pepper” – is the diminutive robot from Aldebaran, a subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank Robotics Corporation, that is designed to understand your feelings. Pepper is so coveted that the first 1,000 models of this artificial companion reportedly sold out online in under sixty seconds.
Pepper stands just four feet tall with a shiny white body and skirted wheels in place of feet. The robot’s cute little face is reminiscent of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Pepper is said to be especially good with children. Pepper can speak English, French, Spanish, and Japanese, and he loves to dance. The most unique feature about Pepper, though, is the capability to understand and exhibit situationally appropriate emotions. Pepper can interpret his master’s feelings based on different tones and inflections in their voice, and Pepper can also display emotions of his own, such as fear and loneliness. This unique little robot friend can also “learn” through a series of software plug-ins and upgrades.
Sales for Pepper racked up at an alarming rate, with the initial 1,000 models selling out in under a minute. Pepper costs $1,600 plus a $200 monthly fee for data and insurance, which is surprisingly little for such a dynamic little pal. The company plans to accept additional new orders in July, and say they will eventually produce 1,000 Pepper robots each month.
Images via Aldebaran