Baby Replacement? Toyota's Tiny Robot is Here

There's a reason why Toyota's new mini robot doesn't stand. It sits and wobbles to emulate the actions of a baby, designed to attract the attention of women who either can't or don't want to have children of their own.

It could also bring companionship to an aging population that could use a little friend.

Coming to Japan next year for about $400, the Kirobo Mini has a more advanced vocabulary than your typical infant. This 10cm-tall robot can engage in casual conversation, make gestures and even respond to your emotions.

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For example, the Kirobo Mini will say, "Oh no, what happened?" if you frown, or ask you why you're excited if you're smiling. As you might expect, it speaks in a high-pitched voice.

Credit: ToyotaCredit: Toyota

The Kirobo Mini also ships with a cradle that doubles as a baby seat, which appropriately fits right inside your car's cup holders.

Toyota is attempting to address two trends in Japan with this robot. First, births have halved in the last 50 years to around a million a year, with one in 10 women never marrying. So there are less babies being born.

The other trend is an aging population; more than a quarter of the population are age 65 and older. That group could use a friend, especially when a caregiver is not around.

Toyota will start by launching the Kirobo Mini through Toyota vehicle dealers across Japan in 2017, but there's no word as to whether this synthetic baby will come to the U.S.

via Reuters, CNN

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