Toyota Motor Corporation announced today the launch of its Kirobo Mini communications partner through Toyota vehicle dealers across Japan in 2017.
The robot is weighed 183g, fits in the palm of the hand and is only 10cm high when sitting. Its compact size means it can be enjoyed in one’s home, car or elsewhere.
Before the nationwide launch Kirobo Mini will be available for on-line pre-order in some designated dealers in Tokyo and the Aichi Prefecture this winter.
Toyota’s communications partner is tentatively priced at JPY 39,800 excluding tax (around $1,000). A Monthly fee of approximately JPY 300 yen is to be added should the user want the services attached to the dedicated app thata allows Kirobo learn and get better.
The robot will be on display at the IT and electronics exhibition CEATEC JAPAN 2016 ‘Connecting Society, Creating the Future’ to be held at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture from October 4 to October 7. Visitors there have the chance to experience conversations with the “pocket sized” robot.
Connected and able to learn
Kirobo Mini not only is able to hold a conversation, but also to understand what is being said to it.
The robot’s range of gestures and conversation abilities are mainly made possible by connecting Kirobo Mini via Bluetooth® to smartphones installed with a dedicated app. A built-in camera enables Kirobo Mini to recognize people’s facial expressions, through which it tries to detect their emotions so that it can accordingly adjust its manner of speaking and moving. It can also hold a conversation based on the information drawn from the vehicle or home.
Kirobo Mini adjusts its own gestures and voice tone to match the conversation, and, moreover, makes communication more meaningful by blinking and looking at the person who is with it speaking.
The robot remembers user likes and dislikes as well as their shared travels. It is able to gradually adjust its conversation topics tailoring them to the user’s needs and likes.
Based on information about the vehicle or home obtained through connected services, Kirobo Mini can provide more-caring comments, such as: “That was a long drive. Good job.” or “Welcome home! A warm bath is waiting.”
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