Wakamaru – Life With A Robot (Video)

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It’s no secret that the Japanese are hard at work developing robots for domestic use. While the Western image of a domestic robot involves vacuuming the floor, doing the dishes, and carrying out the trash, the Japanese are focused on domestic robots that are much more like a family member . . .


The Wakamaru robot, developed by Mitsubishi, is a good example. Wakamaru “speaks to people and lives with the family. ‘wakamaru’ is useful for your life at home. . . ‘wakamaru’ is completely different from conventional industrial robots or pet robots, as he can provide various service functions and communicate with people spontaneously.”

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 Young child treating Wakamaru like another child

Watching people interact with Wakamaru at a robot exhibition in Tokyo recently, it was amazing how relaxed and comfortable they were with the robot. Adults easily chatted with him as if he was a real person, and children immediately bonded. It was as if they had found a new friend.

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 The child laughed, giggled, and tried chatting with Wakamaru

Here’s a set of short video clips showing Wakamaru interacting with people at the exhibition:

The robot’s voice recognition includes about 10,000 words and enables him to carry on a limited conversation with people. It also recognizes people by their face, turns to face you when speaking, and has a very human like body language – even down to tilting its head to the side.

Why the name, “Wakamaru”? According to Mitsubishi-

"wakamaru" is nicknamed after a young Japanese samurai, Minamoto Yoshitsune, whose childhood name was "Ushi-wakamaru" and who is associated with "growth" and "development." Two sensors on the forehead have reminded of the characteristic eyebrows of Yoshitsune.

Related links:

Wakamaru Webpage – English

You might also enjoy:

  1. Wakamaru Has Its Own Robot Blog
  2. Bigger Than Life-Sized Robot
  3. What Would Albert Think?
  4. Robot Life's Natural Progression
  5. Taking Your Robot For A Walk (Video)
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