The 2002 release of the robot vacuum Roomba hinted at a future market of robots who took care of humanity’s menial household chores. Sanyo’s Mirai Sanzo robot takes a step toward organizing that vision, but offers a side of “personality” to go along with its task-achieving prowess. Of course, “personality” in Japanese robots amounts to a frankly creepy anime smile, some flashes of colors and lifeless dots for eyes.
The spherical device—stylistically reminiscent of a Tamagotchi—features a touchscreen presided over by a smiling cartoon face and is billed as a “communication robot,” meaning it recognizes voice commands and can relay those to a home automation system (you know, assuming you have one of those) via WiFi. Running on an undisclosed version of Android, the device also features touch sensors to power on and off a la the technological wonder that is an automated garage door.
As mentioned, the robot also takes a stab at establishing “personality,” showcasing a feature which allows it to glow seven different colors, each being representative of a different “emotion” a la the technological wonder that is a mood ring. The device is allegedly available in Japan soon, but an English price has not yet been set.