We all have heard of the cute Pepper robot. With its big eyes and chest tablet, Pepper is the perfect customer assistant and is also found as a Gym Coach in more than 500 retirement houses in Japan. One of his father is Kaname Hayashi, who supervised its development when working for Softbank. He then decided to have another brainchild robot and founded the startup Groove X in late 2015. The mission of the company tells it all: “Bring out humanity’s full potential through robotics.”
With $80 million in funding, Groove X developed what the new generation of home robots could be and paved the way for the development of empathic robots. Lovot stands for Love and Robot. It is precisely what it is: a “just for Love” robot.
Lovot or the first empathic robot
Behind its big LCD eyes, Lovot integrates a lot of very advanced technologies: More than 50 sensors, three cameras including thermal and depth, speakers, and microphone. Lovot robots can scan their surroundings and detect where their owner is. With its deep learning and AI abilities, this adorable robot can change its behavior in real-time, depending on the reaction of the humans around him. Lovot interfaces with a dedicated App that gives flexibility to the owner to change the color of its eyes and customize its behavior.
Lovot abilities go well beyond being just cuddly and adorable. When you come back home, it will run to you and welcome you. It will detect your voice and behave accordingly and will do its best to be an integral part of the family.
Groove X Lovot might be a cornerstone of robotics development. With its embedded planetary wheels, the little robot can navigate its environment and find the charging base by itself. The only issue so far is that its operating time is limited to 45 minutes between 20 minutes of charging cycles.
Lovot’s only purpose is to be loved and cuddled and to bring happiness and comfort to its owner. Presented as a prototype during the CES 2019, it enlighted the CES 2020 last month and showed off its changeable outfits and colors. No doubt that it won the Innovation 2020 Award.
The future of robotics is now
Lovot is now available for sale only in Japan for close to 300,000 yen plus a 9,000 yen monthly subscription to be able to use the software. It could seem like a high price tag, but Lovot is unique and belongs to what disruptive product should be. Technology is used not only for the sake of being innovative but to induce an emotional reaction and with the ultimate goal of bringing happiness and joy.
We believe that Lovot will soon become part of the iconic robots. With its big eyes, hand-like flippers, and warm body, Lovot is undoubtedly the most advanced empathic robot on the market. It will probably pave the way for what will become robotics in the future.
In a country like Japan, where more than 30% of the population is 65+ years old, Lovot is the first cuddly robot with the ability to ease loneliness and deliver joy. Lovot might well change the way people are looking at robots and stop considering them as tools but as “real” friends.