Vacuum cleaning faculties combined with robotics aren't a new fad. To name a few suspects, existing self-navigating models in the market include iRobot's dirt-detecting Roomba series, and Samsung's Navibot range which packs a mounted camera capable of shooting at 30 frames per second to map out its location within your home. Now, Sharp Corp has upped the stakes by a notch with a trilingual robotic vacuum cleaner that converses in Japanese, Chinese, and English.
Meet Cocorobo, a dinner-plate sized dirt sucker, also equipped to speak in Kansai, a witty and humorous Japanese dialect commonly used in Japan's southwestern provinces. This nifty cleaner doesn't just spew out words for fun. It can hold a basic conversation on its own. Ask it "how's it going" and it would respond with "so good". The only caveat is that the machine is limited to the 36 linguistic phrases programmed into its svelte body. On top of this, Cocorobo is able to beam photos taken from your abode to your mobile phone. This feature might be useful in locating lost items located under your furniture, for example. Cocorobo derives its name from an amalgamation of the word "kokoro", which means heart in Japanese, and the English word "robot".
According to Associated Press' report, Sharp's Cocorobo will be available in Japan next month before making its way to China and subsequent Asian nations. The autonomous vacuum cleaner is expected to retail at a staggering 130,000 yen (approximately S$2,035) when it's out. It's notably pricier than the Roomba or Navibot, and this is a hurdle Sharp has to overcome if the Japanese firm wants to convince consumers that the Cocorobo is a worthy house-cleaning investment after all.
Source: Associated Press