The competition is heating up in Japan for home robot supremacy.
NTT, Japan’s largest telecommunications company, has created the Sota robot that interacts with other smart objects in the home. NTT plans to first unleash Sota at elderly care facilities by March 2016. The obvious move after that would be to get Sota in homes to further rival Aldebaran’s Pepper robot.
Nikkei Asian Review, which first reported the news, shares details on a recent demo of Sota:
Sota was connected to a television, blood pressure monitor and other devices, creating a so-called Internet of Things network. Weighing about 1kg, the robot is portable even for the elderly. At 28cm high, it is best positioned off the ground, on a table or desk.
The robot will likely be priced at 100,000 yen ($805). Service prices for home use are seen starting as low as several thousand yen a month.
In the demonstration, Sota asked, “How are you?” and said “let’s measure blood pressure.” It continued, “Use that blood pressure monitor, and I will dim the light so you can relax.” The lighting then darkened.
The results were then displayed on a TV and tablet computer. Soto commented, “The blood pressure is a little too high. Let’s cut back on sodium this month.”
Sota can also turn on air conditioners and urge someone to drink more water based on body temperature and heart rate measured via smart sensors and wearable devices.
NTT’s voice recognition and speech synthesis technologies are used to convert conversation into data on a cloud computing system, which in turn will send commands wirelessly to devices. NTT Data will develop apps and handle coordination control.
As Mashable points out, “Sota is cheaper (about $800, plus a monthly service of around $30 for home use) and much smaller (just 11 inches tall).”