Smartphone could be replaced with Pocket-Sized Robot

Tomotaka
Takahashi, CEO of Robo Garage, is developing a pocket-sized robot that can
move, express emotions, and socialize with you. He thinks it could replace your
smartphone. Could you live without your smartphone? The answer would certainly
be a resounding no for most, myself included.

Tomotaka
Takahashi, CEO of robot design company Robo Garage and research associate
professor at the University of Tokyo, is hoping we’ll change our minds. The
Huffington Post reports Takahashi is developing a personal, pocket-sized robot
that could be the next smartphone. The unnamed robot, which Takahashi talked
about at The WorldPost Future of Work Conference in London, is just a prototype
at this point, but he hopes it will hit the market in the next year.

The
personal robot reportedly has a head and limbs, can walk and dance, and
expresses emotions through gestures and color-changing eyes. According to the
report, Takahashi says he’s working with a “well-known company” to mass-produce
the robot, which he adds will be the size of an iPhone 6, have a similar
battery life, and cost about $2,000. Takahashi, the report says, believes
humans are getting tired of virtual communication. He even says we will rely
heavily on personal robots in the future because they “will know you better
than anyone.”


So
what are some things this pocket-sized friend can do? Here’s more from the
Huffington Post:

For
example, instead of sharing a stunning photo on Instagram or your thoughts on
an interesting movie on Twitter, you could talk about it with your robot in the
moment. Not only that, but your robot would remember the shared experience,
years later. Your relationship with your robot would be strengthened over time
by the memories that you share together, Takahashi said.

In
addition to experiences, you could also share thoughts and feelings with your
robot. “Right now, we can talk to our phone to ask for our schedule or send an
email, but that’s more of a direction,” said Takahashi. “When we have small
robots, we’ll say things to it like ‘Today’s cold’ or ‘I’m sad’—things more
related to our fundamental emotions. He doesn’t have to say something very
useful back. Just respond like a human would.”

You
could use your pocket robot for lots of other things too. If you tell your
robot you’re hungry, it could remind you when you last ate, or tell you that
around the corner, there’s a sushi place (which your robot would know is your
favorite type of food). Your robot could also help you better connect with
humans, Takahashi said. For example, if you’re about to meet a new co-worker,
your robot could—after scanning the Internet or that person’s robot—tell you
that the new co-worker shares a hobby with you.

And
there’s great commercial potential. The more i
nformation a device collects, the
more lucrative it is. Your shopping recommendations on Amazon would be spot on,
Takahashi said. In 2012, Takahashi developed a companion robot called Robi
(watch the video below). Standing 13 inches tall, Robi has voice recognition,
can move, speak and understand five languages, and detect movement. As Fusion
points out, this pocket-sized robot is essentially Robi 2.0. There are other
personal robots on the market or in development, including Pepper, Jibo,
Robotbase, Furo and Romo. The difference is Takahashi’s robot is much smaller
and could be with you more often than the others. (Via. Robotics Trends)

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