Toyota is launching its first consumer robot.
A talking robot called Kirobo Mini will be sold in Japan starting next year for ¥39,800 ($400),. The company claims Kirobo Mini has the intelligence of a five-year-old and can learn phrases and recognise facial expressions with a built-in camera and sensors.
Kirobo Mini is a miniature version of Kirobo, which stayed on the International Space Station for a year and a half since August 2013. Both robots were programmed to be talkative, but Mini is meant to pull at the heartstrings rather than at your patience. Initially, it was intended to provide tips and companionship to drivers and passengers, but Toyota may put the robot’s baby appearance to more than just that.There is even some thinking that it will help reverse a shrinking Japanese population, Slas Gear again:
Kirobo Mini supposedly wobbles when sitting down, just like a still unsteady baby would. It’s meant to elicit some “ooohs” and “awws” from people.
[I]t is also hoped it would trigger women’s maternal instincts enough to make them want to have full-sized, human counterparts of Kirobo.