For humans, it is difficult to monitor dementia patients but not for robots, if right software is developed, say Japanese scientists who created software to monitor and help dementia patients in their daily lives.
Japan telecom giant SoftBank Mobile Corp. and Aldebaran Robotics have announced the joint development of “Pepper”, the world’s first personal robot that can read emotions recently and plan to sell in Japan from Friday at a base price of 198,000 yen or $1,700, which is still much lower than the cost price.
The robot has been presented to visitors since June 6, 2014 at SoftBank Omotesando and SoftBank Ginza stores to interact with humans. SoftBank Mobile plans to eventually make it available in all its stores across the country.
Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Corp., said: “We have made a new entry into the robot business with the aim of developing affectionate robots that make people smile. Using emotion engines and Cloud AI, which evolves with collective wisdom, we’re making this happen.”
Bruno Maisonnier, Founder & CEO of Aldebaran. “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. Thanks to Pepper, the future begins today and we want all of you to be a part of it.”
The application developed by Project Team dementia even won the top honours at an app contest held by Softbank and went on to manufacture the humanoid robots which are called Pepper and put on sale. These humanoid robots can recognise voice commands, read the gestures and body language of humans, essentially of the Japanese.
Pepper robots can indulge in simple conversations with dementia patients, urge them to wake up or take their medicines and even send an SMS message to their doctors via Internet about the medicine being taken by the patient on a regular basis.
When the dementia patients receive an e-mail, the robots will inform the master immediately. In between, it can ask about the number of grandchildren they have and their age, in order to keep their memory in tact.
In addition, Pepper can make jokes, dance and entertain people using the software developed by Yoshimoto Robotics Laboratory.
The Pepper Project has received 100,000 Yen or $8,400. Softbank will begin sale of these robots from Friday and 300 units will be put up for sale in the first phase.
In addition, buyers should pay a monthly charge of 25,000 yen or $200 for a three-year contract. The robots will use the company’s cloud services at a charge of $125, which is included in the basic monthly tariff.
Besides, the company is offering insurance at 10,000 yen per month or $82, that includes maintenance and discount on repairs.
Main features of Pepper:
Judges situations with an array of sensors, incorporates proprietary algorithms to control applications autonomously.
Estimates emotions based on expressions and voice tones using emotion recognition functions
Over 12 continuous hours of battery life.
Articulates gracefully with a high degree of freedom thanks to proprietarily developed joints
Can acquire various types of information and synchronize with cloud-based databases through an Internet connection.
Uses sensors to avoid collisions and has autobalance to prevent falls, among other various safety features.
Capabilities are expandable by installing various new types of robot apps.
Aldebaran’s software development kit (SDK) will be provided for a wide range of applications, from simple movements to advanced customization using widely available programming languages.
Dimensions: 1,210mm (height) × 425mm (depth) × 485mm (width)
Weight : 28kg
Battery : Lithium-ion battery
Capacity : 30.0Ah/795Wh
Operation time: approx. over 12hrs (when using at shop)
Sensors Head: Mic × 4, RGB camera × 2, 3D sensor × 1, Touch sensor × 3
Chest : Gyro sensor × 1
Hands : Touch sensor × 2
Legs : Sonar sensor × 2, Laser sensor × 6, Bumper sensor × 3, Gyro sensor × 1
Moving parts: Degrees of motion
Head (2°), Shoulder (2°) (L&R), Elbow (2 rotations) (L&R), Wrist (1°) (L&R), hand 5 fingers (1°) (L&R), Hip (2°), knee (1°), base (3°)
Display : 10.1-inch touch display
Platform : NAOqi OS
Networking : Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz)
Ethernet : × 1 (10/100/1000 base T)
Motion speed: Up to 3km/h
Climbing : Up to 1.5cm.