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Pepper, the new companion robot from Tokyo-based technology company Softbank Corp., delivers cuteness like you've never seen. What's striking is the absolutely ardent attention it gives you – frankly a lot better than some real-life people.It's another matter entirely whether it's worth the price tag of 198,000 yen ($1,600), plus the maintenance and insurance costs that ownership entails, adding up to some 1.2 million yen ($10,000) for an estimated three-year lifespan.Pepper has cameras, lasers and infrared in its hairless head so it can detect human faces.As long as you don't walk too far from it, removing yourself from its attention, Pepper will prattle on and on, switching from one small talk topic to another, gesticulating at times with its five-fingered soft hands for effect.Each Pepper is hand-made by Foxconn in China, limiting supplies to 1,000 a month.The kind of patient interaction Pepper excels at is recommended for people with dementia. So Pepper might come to the rescue of stressed out families.Softbank offers a basic software application kit so even a child can create applications for Pepper.The way it's designed, Pepper is basically about human relationships.It could be a dream-come-true robot friend for a child.Pepper's record could also hold special meaning, if its owner were to die.
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