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Toyota’s Kirobo Mini robot to go on sale in Japan next year

Tuesday 04 October 2016, By Autovolo

Toyota’s Kirobo Mini robot to go on sale in Japan next year

Toyota’s Kirobo Mini robot to go on sale in Japan next year

Toyota will begin selling its Kirobo Mini robot in Japan in 2017 in an effort to show robots can be “cute and companionable as well as useful”.

The 10cm-high robot has been designed by Toyota to be a “communication partner”. Some of Kirobo Mini’s functions include holding a basic conversation, hand gestures and responding to human emotions.

Thanks to its small size, it is capable of fitting in the palm of your hand. Toyota says it was designed in this fashion so that it can “serve as a constant companion to its owner”.

The robot’s functions are enable by a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone that has a dedicated app installed on it.

To help Kirobo Mini recognise and react to a person’s emotions, it is equipped with a built in camera.

It can also use information from its owner’s vehicle and home environment to generate conversation.

However, this function is currently only available in Japanese, and owners will have to have cars that can use the Kirobo Mini-compatible T-Connect service, as well as the TSC-HEMS service provided by the Toyota Home Corporation.

Toyota said: “Kirobo Mini has been developed as part of the Toyota Heart Project, which aims to create human-like interaction between man and machine in a format other than automobiles, but using the same fundamental concept of ‘inspiring the heart, inspiring you’ that it applies to vehicle manufacturing.”

Kirobo Mini will cost the Japanese equivalent of £300 when it goes on sale in Japan next year.