Robot ‘Pepper’ Lands TV Gig in Japan

Monday 23 March 2015 at 3:13 pm.

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Pepper is displayed at a SoftBank 9984.TO -0.11% mobile phone shop in Tokyo in June 2014.
Associated Press

And now, ladies and gentlemen, heeere’s…Pepper!

Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co. on Monday said it is developing a television program for TV Tokyo which features a humanoid robot as one of its main emcees.

SoftBank Corp.’s Pepper is set to debut April 6 on kids’ program “Oha-sta,” which will air weekdays from 6:45 a.m. The creators believe it is the first time that a robot has landed a daily TV gig.

The program will see the robot showing off some of his unique talents, including enjoying games, showing his dance moves and performing tongue twisters, Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions said.

Pepper is 120 centimeters tall and was developed by France-based Aldebaran Robotics, which Softbank acquired in 2012. Models are sold for an upfront price of ¥198,000 (about $1,650) and a monthly fee which ranges up to ¥24,600 for a three-year contract.

The robot has already appeared in TV commercials for SoftBank, and is seen serving customers at some of the company’s mobile phone stores.

A robot named NAO, developed by Aldebaran Robotics, is scheduled to start providing customer service at a Japanese bank beginning in April.

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