Recently, the Japanese company Panasonic introduced Nikobo , a stationary “hugging” robot.
With no legs or wheels to move around on a table or floor, Nikobo can actively spin in place, nod his head, blink round eyes, and wag his gray tail. Made of pleasant knitted material, the robot asks itself to hug.
Inside the robot, there is quite a serious technical “filling”, including a camera with a face recognition function, which allows Nikobo to identify his owner. And the light sensor helps the robot to understand, for example, in which direction the sun is and ask the owner to take it to warm up.
Nikobo was developed by Panasonic together with Michio Okada , professor at Toyohashi University of Technology, who has been involved in so-called “weak robots” for many years – companions that not only brighten up a person’s leisure time, but also, due to their “special” helplessness, allow him to take care of himself.
Nikobo is the first Panasonic smart robot to go public. It debuted on the Japanese crowdfunding platform Makuake . The idea turned out to be so interesting that the entire first edition of 320 smart robots was dismantled on the very first day. Nikobo’s cost was 39,800 yen ($ 376) , with an estimated delivery date of March 2022 . Panasonic will consider the possibility of more mass production and sale of the smart robot depending on the level of interest and demand.