Sharp plans to use of their Cocorobo unit as a quasi-intelligent interactive robot that would collect user information from the internet in the same method as how it is done by personal assistant software.
Sharp Corporation may not have the most novel idea for their cleaning robot, but they may be onto something when they announced that they want to make their clean bots more conversational. With the collaboration of Tokyu Railways, they have recently revealed a proposal that would use their cleaning robot, Cocorobo, as a testbed for the concept of highly interactive automated (assistant) home robots.
Cocorobo was the name for for Sharp's newest automated cleaning robot unit, which was first introduced in Japan last year. The main defining feature of this clean bot was its voice recognition system, which allowed users to issue commands by just speaking to the unit. Aside from commands, it can also respond to simple words, phrases and terms (it would dance if you order it to dance for example), making Cocorobo a bit livelier than their static, silent, and non-interactive counterparts.
Sharp plans to retrofit and customize their Cocorobo units with special software so that not only could it respond to simple words, but would also now provide straight answers and even quasi-intelligent responses, making the units even more interactive and seemingly livelier. The network connectivity feature of Cocorobo would be boosted to include connectivity to a cloud database, and it would provide additional information such as weather info, updated news, train schedules, upcoming events, and reminders, among other things. The responses generated by these new Cocorobos would then presumably be quite similar to what personal assistant software like Siri does.
There are at least 60 households that would participate in the trial phase of their new units. Each participating home would use the test version of a modified Cocorobo unit from a time period starting from April to December 2013. The custom Cocorobo units would be equipped to record various usage data, modifying its software gradually and automatically over time, to provide better answers and responses to inquiries and questions that might be favorable or needed by members of that specific household.
Source: MyNavi (JP)