bots IN BRIEF
16 SERVO 02.2014
PAPERO PARTNER PROGRAM
NEC's cute communication robot Papero is getting a new lease on life. Japanese electronics giant NEC announced
recently an initiative called the Papero Partner Program, calling for research and business partners to help develop apps
and distribute the robot to end users. Along with this announcement, NEC debuted the Papero Petit — the newest
model of the robot.
Papero Petit stands 24 centimeters ( 9. 4 inches) tall and weighs 1.3 kg ( 2. 8 lbs) — about half the size of earlier
models. It combines multiple sensors (cameras, ultrasonic range finders, temperature sensors, and microphones) to
detect people and look in their direction even in complete darkness. The robot can recognize faces and has between 80
to 90 percent success rate at speech recognition.
The biggest change is that — unlike earlier versions — Papero Petit is stationary so it can no longer follow you
from room to room like a cute little R2-D2. NEC hopes the robot can be improved with new features by connecting to
the Cloud to access software and computing resources. Family members could, for example, send text messages to the
robot, which would read them aloud to their grandparents. NEC has already developed the app with NTT Docomo —
one of Japan's largest telecommunications companies.
NEC is looking for more partners to help develop apps targeting a wide assortment of uses — from home security
to health care. The company also wants to find partners to provide Papero to end users, renting the robot on a monthly
basis. NEC says the monthly fee will likely be less than
10,000 yen (approximately US $100), and could include
NTT Docomo wireless Internet since many nursing
home residents aren't online.