At a time when basic human involvement is discouraged even for security reasons, alternative sources of companionship are even more demanding. If you’re not ready for the responsibilities of a dog or cat, Panasonic has introduced yet another companion robot, which actually calls attention to you through flatulence bouts – just like a pet.
Nikobo is not easy to describe; It’s like someone flipped a bowl, gave it some animated eyes, a wagging tail, and then wrapped it in an old sock. It does not have loco-mot capability – it does not come when you say it – but it is attached to a dynamic base so that it can turn from one side to the other and look up and down. Co-developed with robotics researchers from Toyohashi University of Technology Michio Oka Laboratory, Nikobo includes a camera to recognize faces, multiple directional microphones to detect and focus sounds, tactile sensors so that it can be detected when. Is touched or hugged, and a light sensor so that like a cat it can enjoy a nap in the scorching sun.
Instead of doing laundry or cleaning your floors, Nicobo is about providing simple companionship. So when someone finds it, the robot’s tail begins to spin in appreciation. But it can also happen on days where its mood is not so accommodating, and it is possible when it thinks twice about your surroundings.
Nicobo can also speak, but initially, it speaks only a single word (similar to Groot’s limited parental vocabulary of the Galaxy), but eventually, it fumbles full sentences in kakakoto – broken language, or baby talk. Japanese word for You will never have a long conversation with Nikobo, but its crude mutations will help to feel that it is really attentive and listening to your feelings, even though it can do nothing about them. Sometimes meets all the needs of a human being.
Getting your hands on Nikobo is a bit complicated. For starters, Panasonic only plans to initially build 320 units of the small robot, which costs about $ 360. But actually handling pre-orders through its own crowdfunding platform with the goal of raising 10,000,000 yen (about $ 95,000) before production. After the first six months, owners also expect to cough up around $ 10 a month to use what seems like the most basic features of Nikobo, such as smartphone connectivity and software updates. We hate to see companies in this way nickel and dime users, but monthly expenses make Nicobo feel like an authentic pet.
The other complication is that it seems that all pre-orders for Nicobo have already been claimed at this point – six hours after the crowdfunding campaign began. There can still be cancellations, and there is always the chance that if Panasonic realizes that it has a runway hit in its hands, it will affect production. Until then, especially if you are outside of Japan, finding Nicobo can be more difficult than the challenges of raising a puppy or kitten.