Pepper helper robot soon heading for people’s homes

3 Sep 2014

Pepper the robot

The helper robot known as Pepper is within a year of becoming one of the first commercially designed robots of its kind for the mass market.

Produced by the company known as Softbank and led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, the robot is to be capable of providing a number of interchangeable roles, from home help to healthcare in hospitals, according to Bloomberg.

Expected to be released in the US within the next 12 months, the friendly looking 4-foot humanoid robot has been worked on to be as human-like as possible and has been given the ability to tell jokes and dance.

While seemingly not as advanced as some other robots produced so far, Pepper will be aimed more at the affordable market. The robot first appeared in Japan at the start of the year at a cost of 198,000 yen (€1,447).

The design and operating system of Pepper has changed since the first details of its development were released back in 2010. Back then, Pepper had been aimed at assisting children and the elderly at home, but has now expanded to other business and services settings.

The robot’s developers hope to achieve multifunctionality in Pepper by creating an Android-like operating system that can be customised and added to, for multiple uses.

In terms of lasting power, Pepper is expected to last about 12 hours on a single charge.

Robot enthusiasts in Ireland may have to wait a little longer before Pepper arrives in the country.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic