Hello Kitty Robot

 
 

 

Pictured above: Hello Kitty Robot

 
 
 
 

It had to happen sooner or later, the Japanese have combined their love of the ultra cute cat, Hello Kitty, with their fascination of robotics. The Hello Kitty Robot was launched by Business Design Laboratories under licence from Sanrio to celebrate the 30th birthday of Japan's number one character.

Developed with the aid of NEC, Kitty who unlike other robotic pets is unable to move around the home. Instead the 52-centimetre-high robot has two CCD cameras in her eyes to recognise up to 10 people, as well as ultrasonic sensors in her body to detect movement near her. Kitty's arms and head do have some movement in order to display as much emotion as the cartoon cat can. The real technology can be found in Kitty's ability to recognise speech and converse back to you, but as the Hello Kitty robot is intended to be only sold in Japan its 20,000 phrases and conversations are all in Japanese. We expect Kitty's conversations would be more about the weather and tea parties and less about rocket science.

The Hello Kitty Robot went on sale in Japan only on Hello Kitty's Birthday (Nov 1 2004) for 450,000 yen. Although it seems pricey for a kids toy, Hello Kitty has a huge following in Japan and Hello Kitty merchandise is everywhere from laptops to cars, in fact you cant find a product the cats head is not on.

Hello Kitty is not Business Design Laboratories first robot, they also sell a similar sized robot that is almost R2D2 style in appearance, called the Ifbot it too was developed with the help of NEC and like Hello Kitty it uses an operating system that NEC call Robo studio, NEC developed Robo Studio for their PaPeRo development robot. 

The Hello Kitty Robot was on display at Expo 2005 Robot Studio along with the similar sized Ifbot and Papero. The Hello Kitty Robot can also be found on sale at many of Japans electronics stores, especially around the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo.
 

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Did You Know?

The word robot comes from the 1920 Czech play Rossum's Universal Robots. The word comes from the Czech word robota, which means tedious labor.

 

 

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