Are you in the market for a cute, wise-cracking, emotionally responsive humanoid robot? There is one, named Pepper, but you'll have to wait until he comes to the U.S. next year -- and you'll probably be vying for him with lots of other robot-loving hopefuls.
In Japan on Saturday, SoftBank Robotics sold out in one minute all 1,000 in-stock units of Pepper, the world's first personal robot that responds to emotions with its own emotions, according to a statement released Monday. Although no more orders are being taken, sales of more cute humanoid robots will be announced on the company's website in July.
Each unit sold for $1,600 and a monthly fee of $200. The white, round-headed robot is about 4 feet tall.
Introduced in June 2014, Pepper isn't a robot servant so much as he is a sort of concierge. (Pepper's makers insist the robot is a he.) He listens, reads your emotions and attempts to respond. He can also sing, dance and, in a demo at SoftBank in Japan last year, Pepper gently admonished visitors for speaking too softly. "Today's customers seem quite shy," he said. "You won't get too far in life that way."
According to Endgadget, SoftBank said it envisioned Pepper working as a store greeter, as an aid for older people, and as a school learning assistant. Along with Aldebaran Robotics, SoftBank encourages developers to help improve Pepper and make him even more responsive. Pepper will be available in Europe and the United States in 2016.