If you use Cocorobo every day, or speak to it every day, it gets in a good mood
While Cocorobo may not be a humanoid like Rosie – it looks more like a Discman – it certainly shares some similar anthropomorphic characteristics. One of the most intriguing innovations is Cocorobo’s reliance on human interaction in enhancing its mood. If Cocorobo is used, or at least addressed, it brightens up. Sharp developer, Yuji Onishi, said, “If you use Cocorobo every day, or speak to it every day, it gets in a good mood.”
Cocorobo can understand and speak a number of phrases in Japanese, Chinese and English. Using voice recognition technology Cocorobo can answer when you give commands. Onishi adds, “Depending on how it feels, its words and movements vary a lot, so you gain a feeling of closeness with it.”
Actually, robotic vacuum cleaners are not that new an invention, with the first one, Roomba by iRobot, hitting the market back in 2002. However, along with its emotional state, Cocorobo has many other AI (artificial intelligence) features that set it apart from Roomba.
You can also use your smartphone like a radio controller, to move Cocorobo forward or rotate it
The top of the range model, the RX-V100, comes equipped with a camera. By using a smartphone app and wireless technology you can control its movement around the room. Onishi says, ““By connecting to it over the internet with your smartphone, you can use its observation capabilities. Cocorobo takes four photos at 90 degree intervals, covering 360 degrees and you can check these with your smartphone. You can also use your smartphone like a radio controller, to move Cocorobo forward or rotate it while watching the streaming video. If you set up Cocorobo to automatic, you can also keep watching it move.”
As you can use it remotely it means Cocorobo can also act as a form of CCTV, to check on the house if you’re away. Another clever feature is the presence of ultrasound sensors that allow it to navigate itself around objects in the room. Onishi says, “Cocorobo now avoids obstacles by using ultrasound sensors in an echolocation system. There are three sensors, on the front and 45 degrees to either side. With infrared sensors, transparent glass and black furniture can’t be recognized so Cocorobo would bump into them. But with ultrasound sensors, it recognizes those items from the reflected sound waves, so it isn’t prone to bumping into things.”
It can be ordered to clean large or small areas from a whole room down to a one-meter diameter space. The vacuum system developed by Sharp uses side brushes that channel the dirt to the rotating brush which sucks it in with a 14,000 rpm rotation fan.
If Cocorobo is a success, then hopefully we’ll see more use of artificial intelligence in home appliances in the near future. But remember, don’t be rude to Cocorobo, he’s got feelings just like you and me.