Japanese Robot That Can 'Read' Your Emotions Sells Out in One Minute

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Starting Saturday, people in Japan will be able to buy a humanoid robot called Pepper that its creators are calling “the world’s first personal robot that can read emotions.” Alderaban

Updated| Starting Saturday, people in Japan can buy a humanoid robot that its creators are calling "the world's first personal robot that can read emotions." The bot won't carry out physical tasks (so don't worry about it taking your job just yet), but it is able to learn, converse, understand its owner's emotions and respond with simulations of emotions like joy, anger and irritation.

This computerized companion is called Pepper, and it's the latest creation of the Japanese megacorp SoftBank. At 4 feet tall and 62 pounds, Pepper is quite the presence. It even develops its own personality depending on the people it interacts with.

As shown by the funerals for Sony's robotic dog Aibo after the company discontinued the product, people can develop strong attachments to inanimate objects. Pepper's owners may find themselves with real feelings for the bot.

Pepper was first introduced at a press conference last June and became available for public interaction at SoftBank Mobile stores days later. Now, the company wants to introduce the computerized companion into people's homes.

There will be 1,000 Peppers available for purchase each month and they will sell for 198,000 yen, or about $1,600 each. Additional costs include the monthly service fee (14,800 yen, or $120) and maintenance insurance (9,800 yen, or $80). Softbank says the bot will likely go on sale overseas next year.

Update: According to Softbank, the 1,000 units of 'Pepper' that went on sale on Saturday sold out in one minute. "Additional sales of Pepper are scheduled to be announced on SoftBank's website in July," the press release says.