New lovey-dovey robot set to squeak its way into Japanese affection

. PHOTO: REUTERS

Japanese start-up Groove X, founded by an alumni of SoftBank Group's robotics unit, yesterday unveiled its first creation - a companion robot designed to make users happy.

The Lovot, an amalgam of "love" and "robot", may not be able to help with the housework but it will "draw out your ability to love", Groove X founder and CEO Kaname Hayashi said at the launch in Tokyo.

Using artificial intelligence to interact with its surroundings, the Lovot communicates in squeaks and has interchangeable outfits. It is designed to mimic affection for users who show it kindness by becoming warm to the touch, going to "sleep" when it is cuddled or following users when called. Each unit costs 349,000 yen (S$4,250) before tax, with ongoing subscription fees

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'New lovey-dovey robot set to squeak its way into Japanese affection'. Print Edition | Subscribe