Lovot is a robot made to make you happy using artificial intelligence, soft skins, and touch-sensitive materials. I don’t know if it will succeed on its objective, but it looks amazing.
After watching it in action, I can see the appeal. This buddy seems like a creature right out of a Hayao Miyazaki film.
Part huggable teddy, part smart robot, this wheeled cute astromech wannabe has big expressive eyes and little arms designed to make an emotional connection with humans.
Made by Japanese robotics company Groove X, Lovot is made of a soft material that is nice to hold, inviting humans to hug and pet it. The company even sells clothes for it, so you can dress it up.
Inside, touch sensors can feel these touches. These signals are combined with video and audio feeds from the top horn antenna. This device has a 360-degree camera to scan rooms and people, a half-sphere microphone that can locate where sounds and voices are coming from, and a thermal camera to make the distinction between furniture and living beings. The company claims that Lovot can instantly find its owner.
Additionally, Lovot has a hygrometer-thermometer to detect skin temperature, a posture sensor, infrared communication sensor array, and a flash. In total, Groove X says it has more than 50 sensors.
All this sensorial information is fed and processed by an artificial intelligence computer, running a x86 CPU with 4 cores and 8GB or RAM, with an additional set of ARM-based CPUs — a 4-core ARMv8 and 2-core ARMv7 — with 4GB of dedicated RAM. The robot also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and can connect to 4G networks, too.
The company calls the entire package “Emotional Robotics.” It says that the robot comes without any pre-determined programming, and that its deep learning engine will activate and start growing a personality from the moment it gets activated. That should make for a funny first week's of weird behavior before finding its soul.
Lovot will come out on Fall 2019 and it is available for pre-order for a whopping $3,100. For that money, this thing better love you for a long time.