Technology

Japan’s Lovot Companion Robot Hopes to Change the World

In 1984, The Terminator promised me a robot apocalypse circa 2029. And yet, we haven’t quite reached our inevitable obliteration via some Skynet-esque artificial intelligence.

No, there’s a longer road ahead, and before we get to cybernetic living tissues over metal endoskeletons, we’re apparently going to have to go through this:

Image: YouTube/GROOVE X, Inc.

That’s Lovot, a Japanese companion robot designed not to work the check-in counter at your local dinosaur hotel, but to just, you know, hang out.

Created by Groove X in Tokyo, the bot looks like a cross between a Teletubby and some kind of overweight hairless owl, with a strange appendage on the top of its head. That’s a camera, by the way. Lovot also houses numerous touch sensors and a “six-layered eye display.” It’s surprisingly emotive, as you can see in the video up there.

What does it do, though? Let’s check the manual press release:

“The LOVOT is not a useful robot that will do tasks for human beings. It begs for attention and gets in the way of those it lives with, and at times will shy away from people it does not know. “

Fantastic.

Groove X goes on to explain their philosophy when it comes to the future of robot-human interaction. Their mission? To “build trust between humanity and robots.”

“When robots can have such a trusted relationship with people and become a way to add enrichment and security to their lives,” they say, “GROOVE X believe that they can nurture people’s ‘capacity to love’ and lead to enhancing their everyday performance.”

We’ll see how that works out.

If you’re interested, Lovot is already available to preorder, but you’ll have to buy two, and together they’ll cost you about $5,300. A bit steep for a robot that just rolls around and begs for hugs, sure, but this is just the beginning.

It starts with you welcoming two fat robot owls into your home, and it ends several years later with a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 T-800 chasing you through a parking lot.

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