Vacuum robot is trilingual, knows witty dialect

May 08, 2012 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer
A model displays the robot vacum cleaner dubbed "Cocorobo", produced by Japanese electronics giant Sharp, at a press conference in Tokyo. Sharp said on Tuesday it had created a robot vacuum cleaner capable of recognising and responding to simple voice commands in several languages.

(AP) -- It looks just like iRobot's Roomba vacuuming machine, except the new circular roaming vacuum cleaner from Sharp Corp. is trilingual, and even knows a hip humorous dialect.

Cocorobo, which can also send photos taken from your home to your cell phone, says 36 phrases including "Long time no see" and "Hello," in Japanese, English and Chinese.

The maker said Tuesday that the robot also speaks the Kansai dialect of southwestern Japan widely viewed as more comical and witty than standard Japanese.

But its linguistic abilities are designed for fun, not for following complex orders or lengthy dialogue.

The machine, whose name is a play on the word for "heart," or "kokoro," answers, "So good," when asked "How's it going?" In the Kansai dialect, it replies the equivalent of, "I'm cool and feeling good."

Sharp is based in Osaka, where the Kansai is spoken.

Cocorobo sells for 130,000 yen ($1,600) and goes on sale next month in Japan, and later in China and other Asian nations. Specific launch dates and other overseas sales plans were undecided.

The dinner-plate size robot also purifies the air while moving about a room, and is handy in finding lost items under furniture because of its built-in camera, according to Sharp.

Japan is known for its prowess in robotics, widely used in manufacturing such as auto plants. The most look almost human.

Sharp, whose flat-panel TV business has been battered by competition from cheaper Asian rivals, plans to produce 4,000 Cocorobo robots a month. It also plans to produce 6,000 per month of a version that only vacuums and can't talk, which will sell for 90,000 yen ($1,100).

Explore further: Review: Fire phone, an improvement on the familiar

More information: Video of Cocorobo: http://www.sharp.co.jp/cocorobo/popupmovie/index.html

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nokia abandons Japan market

Jul 06, 2011

Nokia Corp., battered by the popularity of smartphones, is abandoning the Japanese market, after a brief foray with luxury cell phones costing as much as 20 million yen ($250,000).

Japan Inc. faces 'tectonic changes': analysts

Apr 02, 2012

Sharp's announcement that it will team up with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision on a liquid-crystal display deal is the latest example of the "tectonic changes" rippling through hard-hit Japan Inc.

Recommended for you

Xbox One update is big on friends, Blu-ray 3D support

Jul 21, 2014

An Xbox One August update is arriving for early-access users. Microsoft said, "We're looking forward to hearing feedback on features before we roll them out to all Xbox One consoles next month and beyond." ...

How Kindle Unlimited compares with Scribd, Oyster

Jul 18, 2014

Amazon is the latest—and largest—company to offer unlimited e-books for a monthly fee. Here's how Kindle Unlimited, which Amazon announced Friday, compares with rivals Scribd and Oyster.

User comments : 0