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: