BOCCO Family Robot Kickstarter Project Successfully Funded

BOCCO The family robot that brings your loved ones closer by Yukai Engineering Kickstarter

I first ran across BOCCO at Maker Faire Tokyo last year, and I have to say that I was a little skeptical about its potential as a product and as a business. Although BOCCO incorporates quite a few communication functions, like delivering a message to your loved ones while you are absent, many other devices that are capable of doing the same things, like smartphones and tablets, already exist.

Yet, BOCCO drew big crowds at Maker Faire, and continued to gain fans and supporters over the months that followed. And, when the BOCCO Kickstarter project launched, a significant percentage of those fans demonstrated their love of the robot by opening their wallets and supplying funding. As of this evening, 20 hours before the project closes, they have already exceeded the original goal of raising $20,000 by a considerable margin.

 

What makes BOCCO so unusual? Why were people willing to fund the project when logically there are already many ways to satisfy the core communication functions with existing technology like smartphones?

BOCCO is emotionally attractive and welcoming. The robot’s ‘cute’ and non-threatening personality makes it perfect for situations involving people that are either too young, or too old, to be comfortable using a smartphone. For example, BOCCO could be your personal remote avatar interacting in an engaging manner with an elderly grandparent living in a full care facility, even if they happened to be a 1,000 miles or more away. BOCCO is fun. BOCCO is friendly. And, BOCCO is caring. When it comes to robots and people, that’s enough - it’s more than enough.

Via: BOCCO: The family robot that brings your loved ones closer by Yukai Engineering — Kickstarter #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams

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NEC Announces New PaPeRo Petit Communication Robot and Partner Program (Video)

 画像 NEC 卓上サイズの小型ロボット PaPeRo petit を発表 ~クラウドを活用した PaPeRoパートナープログラム も募集開始  PC Watch

NEC is promoting PaPeRo Petit, the new mini-sized implementation of their well known but little utilised PaPeRo service robot, and the PaPeRo Partner Program.

The PaPeRo concept, which featured built-in cameras, 8 microphones with direction detection, touch sensors, voice recognition, and other interactive features, was quite innovative when it was first announced many years ago. Now it seems a bit dated.

To refresh interest in PaPeRo, NEC announced that the system’s API will be disclosed to application partners, and that the system has been enhanced with substantial ‘cloud’ functionality. Their business plan projects 10 billion yen (USD$100 million) in total sales volume over the next three years, which has to be a typo since there way too many zeros in that number. They are targeting 100 companies as development/marketing/sales partners with the program.

PaPeRo Petit is roughly half the size of it’s larger older brother, the PaPeRo R500, and stands 24 cm tall while weighing in at 1.3 kg.

According to the NEC presentation material, the voice recognition reliability has achieved 90% on average, which they feel makes it practical for use in real world applications. I haven’t seen similar performance statistics for SIRI or Dragon Dictate, but based on my own experience, their performance is much better than 90%.

Here’s the earlier PaPeRo version (circa 2008) in action:

 

Via: "PaPeRo petit" and "PaPeRo Partner Program" - PC Watch

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