Japanese toymaker Bandai Co. is set to release a spherical robot based on the character Haro from the popular anime franchise "Mobile Suit Gundam" that will be able to communicate with users through artificial intelligence.
Bandai announced on Oct. 2 that the robot, Gansheruju Haro (Gundam Concierge Haro), will hit shelves in 2018. It measures about 19 centimeters in diameter, and will be able to recognize users' speech and analyze the meaning and intention of their words.
Users will be able to enjoy conversations relating to the anime, including famous scenes with its characters. The robot, whose price has yet to be disclosed, will be unveiled at the IoT Town 2017 exhibit at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, to be held at the Makuhari Messe event venue in Chiba's Mihama Ward between Oct. 3 and 6.
Gundam Concierge Haro will be the first product to be sold under "BN Bot Project," an information technology-related brand of the Bandai-Namco Group. The robot's developers included IBM Japan Ltd.
When a user says to the robot, "Tell me about a Zaku," for example, the robot can reply "A Zaku is a mobile suit used by the Principality of Zeon." It can also give quiz users with questions like, "Who piloted a Gundam besides Amuro?" The robot's eyes and mouth are fitted with LED lights, and can change color and flash to represent different expressions. It can rock back and forward, left and right, and automatically turn to face the person who is speaking. The robot is also equipped with an alarm clock and a timer. (Story credit: MANTAN)