Love Aaj Kal: Japanese Startup Unveils ‘Lovot’, An AI-Powered Companion RobotThe Lovot companion robot. (Pic via official Lovot website)

Japanese startup Groove X, established by alumni from SoftBank’s robotics division, on Tuesday (18 December) unveiled a new artificial intelligence (AI) enabled companion robot named ‘Lovot’, reports Deccan Chronicle. The device is not intended to conduct major practical tasks but is rather geared towards the emotional needs of consumers.

The Lovot, portmanteau of the words ‘love’ and ‘robot’, looks somewhat like a humanoid penguin and uses wheels to move around. It also comes with interchangeable clothes.

The robot employs AI to interact with its environs and can reciprocate affection given to it by users. It can also go to sleep when cuddled with and communicates with its owner in squeaks.

The robotic companion will ‘draw out your ability to love’, stated Groove X CEO Kaname Hayashi.

Practically, Lovot will come with abilities like monitoring babies or keeping the owner informed about the house through its camera.

Although Japan is one of the world’s leading robot manufacturers, Groove X is trying to tap the nascent household robots market. It has already been funded to the tune of 8 billion yen (US$ 71.1 million) by multiple investors, including the Japanese government.

Considering the market for its intended use case, the Lovot does not come cheap, costing 349,000 yen (US$ 3,100) without taxes.

Japan is currently the lowest ranked member of the G-7 group of advanced economies in the UN’s annual happiness ranking.

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