Friendly robot starts working in stores
Japanese telecommunications retailer Softbank have unveiled Pepper, a friendly 4ft human-like robot which has landed a job of a sales assistant which has been programmed to sell coffee machines. The robot is able to have two way conversations with customers and understand 80% of a conversation. It is also able to read the emotions of the customer and describe the differences in products to them. “It is a very important project for us because we consider it an opportunity to provide a new type of innovation,” said Kensuke Otani, manager of Nestle’s Coffee System Business Department. “We want to actualise a futuristic experience at stores by utilising Pepper, a technology of the future.” The robots will “help us discover consumer needs through conversations between our customers and Pepper,” said a joint statement from Nestlé and SoftBank. Robotic technology has been advancing rapidly in recent years and has seen Google acquire several robotics companies though it is still unclear how Google will apply the technology The Pepper robot is set to retail for a very reasonable price point of around $2,000 and is due for launch in the US later in 2015.

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