Fortune reports: [edited]
Toyota has unveiled a doe-eyed palm-sized robot, dubbed Kirobo Mini, designed as a synthetic baby companion in Japan.
Toyota’s venture aims to tap a demographic trend that has put Japan at the forefront of ageing among the world’s industrial nations.
“He wobbles a bit, and this is meant to emulate a seated baby, which hasn’t fully developed the skills to balance itself,” said Fuminori Kataoka, Kirobo Mini’s chief design engineer. “This vulnerability is meant to invoke an emotional connection.”
Toyota plans to sell Kirobo Mini, which blinks its eyes and speaks with a baby-like high-pitched voice, for 39,800 yen (£300) in Japan next year. It comes with a cradle that doubles as its baby seat designed to fit in car cup holders.