Weekly Robotic News Issue 11 – Community Edition



These are the droids you’re looking for…


Update: Link to Pepper app store (apps in Japanese) - https://store.aldebaran.com/default/applications.html?pepper=1 

This last weekend Softbank launched their new Pepper robot in Japan and promptly sold the first 1000 in minutes. This robot designed by Aldebaran Robotics will let you interact with it using both speech and also your emotions. The robot will supposedly detect your emotion and react accordingly. Recent videos showing interaction with the robot shows its limited response range which surely will end in frustration if not corrected with software over time using the subscription service.

As well as being able to move around your building Pepper can also interact using its two arms and there is the problem. While impressive will these arms present problems in reliability? What happens when your child tries to grab one of the arms? Will the robot be able to survive when the grandkids get their hands on it?

Released only in Japan right now there are many unanswered questions around Pepper but with about 60 apps available at launch we will wait and see if the excitement remains once the robot gets in the hands of more consumers. Twelve months from now will pepper be taking an active part in buyer’s lives or will it be stored back in the box waiting for it to become the next collector’s item.

All this being said it is impressive to see such large investments into SoftBank so kudos to them for launching first.

Now we wait for the follow up reviews and Jibo to step into the limelight…err well it will not exactly step as Jibo can only rotate on its base Smile

While the world went Pepper crazy this week a really cool story was that Wowee Robotics, maker of the hit MiP robot that every kid wanted last Christmas saw beyond their accounting department and included a hacker port! Surprising as how many people will actually use it compared to the number of units sold but huge Kudos to Wowee for doing this and also SparkFun for making it easy to patch into the port and create your own addons. In one case someone has added a RaspBerry Pi to the MiP so it can only be a matter a time before we see a MiP robot integrated with a RaspBerry Pi running Windows 10 Core.




Press event video from Pepper launch over the weekend - http://webcast.softbank.jp/en/press/20150618/index.html

1000 Pepper robots sell out in a minute on Saturday - http://www.cio.com/article/2938593/1000-pepper-robots-sell-out-in-a-minute-on-launch-day.html

Japanese snap up first thousand Pepper emotional robots in a minute - http://sputniknews.com/science/20150620/1023621815.html

Childlike robot that understands emotions set to go on sale in Japan - http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_28337520/childlike-robot-that-understands-emotions-set-go-sale

Why SoftBank’s Pepper could become the iPhone of robots - http://www.cio.com/article/2938153/why-softbanks-pepper-could-become-the-iphone-of-robots.html

The faces of Japan’s humanoid robots - http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/06/19/the-faces-of-japans-humanoid-robots/

SoftBanks adorable Pepper robot goes on sale this Saturday - http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/18/softbank-pepper-robot-on-sale/



SoftBank lands 236 million dollars from Alibaba and FoxConn to bring Pepper to the world - http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/18/alibaba-foxconn-softbank-and-pepper-walk-into-a-bar/#.3hok0n:uyVe




Michigan science center opens new robot lab - http://www.dailyastorian.com/michigan-science-center-opening-new-exhibit-featuring-robots-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment0d6edcdf9df9440fa04f11d4a63e7970



What happens when the family robot dog dies - http://www.techtimes.com/articles/62019/20150619/what-happens-when-the-family-robot-dog-dies.htm


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Did you know your kids MiP robot was hackable? – Thank you to WowWee for seeing beyond the bottom line and adding a hacker port to the hugely successful MiP robot…now where did I put my Dremel J

Thank you also to Spark Fun for supplying the necessary bits to make this possible - https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/hacking-the-mip---proto-back



Check out the iRobot Create 2 for your own robotic exploration - http://www.irobot.com/About-iRobot/STEM/Create-2.aspx

More on the iRobot Create 2 - http://electronicdesign.com/blog/running-irobot-create-2



http://www.fetchrobotics.com raises 20 million dollars to help automate warehouses - http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/blog/techflash/2015/06/fetch-robotics-raises-20m-to-help-automate.html



Catalina Health raises 1.25 million dollars for its healthcare robot - http://www.techcroc.com/catalia-health-raises-1-25-million-khosla-ventures-healthcare-robot/

More on this robot - https://vimeo.com/130560599



The robotic journey will continue next week

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