‘​Human’ robot Pepper proves popular again and sells out in less than a minute in Japan

Pepper, one of the world’s first personal robots to understand human emotion, has flown off shelves in Japan

Japan’s first life-size personal robot with the ability to understand feelings has again sold out within a minute of going on sale.

‘Pepper’, which can live autonomously in a person’s home, costs 198,000 Japanese yen (£1,070) and has the appearance of Casper the Friendly Ghost in 3D.

The latest batch of 1,000 Peppers bots sold out after they were put up for sale online at 10am on Saturday, reported Taiwanese newspaper The China Post on Sunday.

The child-size automaton was developed by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank and Taiwanese contract manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision Industry.

Pepper, an emotional Robot, greets conference attendees during the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California October 20, 2015

The makers called Pepper a “social companion for humans”, claiming that the androgynous house-bot is the first of its kind to respond to human “emotional signifiers”, such as, laughing or frowning.

The first batch of Peppers hit the market in June. Since then, four batches have gone on sale. The latest model boasts new refinements, including the ability to memorise and store data on human responses by using cloud technology-based artificial intelligence.

The companies’ production line is based at the Hon Hai’s factory, reported The China Post.

Videos of Pepper have circulated on YouTube, in which the nearly 4ft robot responds to questions and commands in Japanese, in a high pitched squeaky voice.

On the basis of these studies, technology experts noted that Pepper is not the best listener but has a distinctly cheeky side.

One of the robot’s favourite questions is: “So you are very chic. Are you a model?”.

In one conversation, when asked how old it was, it replied, “In human years, I don’t know how old I am but as I robot I was made in 2014.”

Japan is leading the world market for human-like personal robots. Previous models on sale include, SoftBank’s NAO programmable robot, smaller than Pepper at 29in high; Sony’s AIBO robotic dog; and Honda’s ASIMO robot that can run and climb stairs.

People take pictures with humanoid robot 'Pepper', which is jointly developped by Japan's mobile carrier SoftBank and French humanoid robot maker Alderbaran, at a showroom of SoftBank in Tokyo, on June 6, 2014.

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