Robot love is in your future



Japanese electronics firm Softbank claims to have developed the world's first emotional robot.

Utilising cloud-based artificial intelligence and an "emotional engine," the company says consumers will be able to interact with the robot, which they call Pepper, "just like they would with friends and family."

Related: GM throws in the towel – recalls every vehicle ever made

The robot, which will also be capable of performing various tasks, is set to go on sale next year for 198,000 yen (£1,150).

Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Softbank said, "People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart. For the first time in human history, we're giving a robot a heart."

Two prototypes will be present from this Friday across Softbank stores in Japan, allowing customers to interact with the robot.

The robotics industry has found a strong foothold in Japan over recent years. Estimates suggest that its robotics market was worth about 860 billion yen (£5 billion) in 2012 and with growing concerns over an ageing population and falling birth rates the popularity of robots is expected to increase.

Households are looking to robots like Pepper as an alternative to paying for care for elderly relatives and to compensate for labour shortages. Pepper is also not the first robot to make a name for itself in Japan. Car giant Honda has been developing a humanoid robot called ASIMO since 2000, which was recently seen playing football with US President Barack Obama.

Related: Do you take naked selfies?

Pepper was developed by Softbank in collaboration with French company Aldebaran Robotics. Chief executive of Alderbaran, Bruno Maisonnier said, "The emotional robot will create a new dimension in our lives and new ways of interacting with technology.

"It's just the beginning, but already a promising reality."




More

Another Rock Series is Headed to Cable, Thanks to Scorsese and Jagger

New series, along with Cameron Crowe's Roadies, will bring classic rock to cable next year

Kate Winslet May Join Steve Jobs Biopic

Oscar winner may join Michael Fassbender, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen in cast

Liberace Hologram May Tour the World

He ain't rock and roll, but Liberace could start an avalance of hologram revivals