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Oddly Enough

Could robots become man's new best friend?

Thursday, July 03, 2014 - 01:30

A Paris studio showcasing intuitive robots opens its doors and welcomes human companions. Roselle Chen reports.

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A robot-filled studio opened its doors in a Paris suburb on Wednesday (July 2), aimed at introducing humans to a new generation of emotionally-savvy machines, which organizers hope one day could become man's new best friend. The latest "Pepper" robot is capable of reading emotions by analyzing facial expressions, body language and words, and it can also express itself with a voice and gestures. The company's CEO Bruno Maisonnier said the androids are still reserved for professional and educational use and the current model is a starting point. Maisonnier explained that the robots were deliberately made to be friendly and cute in order to ease humans into an emotional relationship with their new companions. SOUNDBITE: Bruno Maisonnier, Aldebaran CEO, saying (French): "A real connection is made but, in the same way as it is with objects. Can we have feelings, can we love objects? Because that's the question behind this, a robot is an object, a specific sort of object, but it is still an object. So can we love objects? We just have to take a look at children with their cuddly toy, their teddy bear, of course it is possible to love an object and have emotional feelings about them, but only if there is an emotional history, a common emotional background." "Pepper" can operate for over 12 hours before needing six hours to charge up its battery and is fitted with 25 sensors so that it doesn't bump into its human friends. The robots will go on sale to the public starting in February of 2015 with a $1,900 (USD) price tag.

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Could robots become man's new best friend?

Thursday, July 03, 2014 - 01:30