Parlo, photo via Engadget
The most famous robot in Japan might very well be Sony’s famous dog robot Aibo. It was first released way back in 1999 but was subsequently retired in 2005. But Aibo paved the way for other robots to invade the consumer market. One such robot is Parlo, a communication-robot developed by Fujisoft.
First released back in March of 2010 as a product for educational institutions, the robot is 40 cm tall and weighs 1.6 kg. And since June of 2012, Parlo has been used in over 50 facilities nationwide, especially in nursing homes and day care centers. Parlo can communicate with seniors or even dance or play quizzes or other games. It will even turn when it hears your voice, and greet you as you approach.
The company recently announced that it will hold a programming contest to gather ideas to better use robots in our daily lives. There will be two contests (one for ideas, and one for programming), with the themes being: “Parlo brings happiness to elders” and “What if Parlo was at your home?” Ideas will be accepted from June 15th to July 20th, followed by the programming contest which will run from August 15th to November 20th.
The winners of the competition will be announced at the 25th National Japan Robot-Sumo Tournament which will be held on December 15th. Parlo is not available for consumers just yet, but the first place winners in the competition will get one, along with a cool 100,000 yen (about $1,000).