Nicobo, a companion robot, has been developed by Panasonic in collaboration with the Michio Oka Robotics Laboratory at the Toyohashi University of Technology.
Nicobo is like a pet that follows its owner everywhere. Equipped with a camera and microphone, it can recognise its owner's face and voice. It has tactile sensors, which means it can also respond to hugs. Nicobo's vocabulary is quite limited: it can only pronounce a few individual words first, but over time it learns how to form complete sentences. It's incapable of having a full conversation. Still, the robot's capabilities are enough to alleviate the owner's feelings of loneliness.
The robot also has more extravagant features. Sometimes the robot has "bouts of flatulence". When this happens, it will produce distinctive sounds and ceases to respond to its owner. If the owner doesn’t take measures, the robot will stop moving, and its pupils will start to rotate strangely.
The company intends to release only 320 robots, which will be available for customers to purchase in spring next year. The robot will cost $360.
Share this with your friends!