A Japanese robot capable of interpreting human emotions will go on sale for the first time this weekend.
Pepper, described as a humanoid robot with a "heart", is able to recognise human emotions before reacting with simulations of feelings such as anger, joy, irritation and sadness.
The robot, which has a hairless head, moving arms, no legs and glides on wheels, is designed to develop its own personality depending on its human interactions.
The creation, unveiled last year by its creators SoftBank, a technology and mobile communications company, will go on sale in Japan for the first time today.
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The company will release 1000 robots onto the market every month, selling for an initial payment of Y198,000 ($2330) plus monthly service fees in a three-year-contract.
Businesses in Japan will also be able to rent the robot for Y1500 an hour while overseas sales will most likely be launched next year, with help from Alibaba Group of China and FoxConn of Taiwan.
Announcing the launch of sales, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, described how the inspiration for Pepper came from his childhood memories of Astro Boy, a cult Japanese animated robot character who did not have a heart. In an emotional address to media, he said: "Our vision is to offer a robot with love."
The creation of Pepper reflected his company's commitments to smart robots that can provide emotional interaction in everyday life, he added.
Pepper, meanwhile - who measures 122cm in height and weighs 28kg - duly performed for gathered media by singing, dancing and conversing with celebrities.