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Standing at a little over a foot tall and capable of recognising human emotions, personal robot Pepper is already proving a success in Japan. Within a minute of going on sale at the weekend, the first 1,000 units of the humanoid had been ordered. SoftBank Robotics said that orders are no longer being taken and it would announce additional sales in July. Pepper is made by French firm Aldebaran Robotics, a subsidiary of the mobile carrier Softbank. Equipped with the latest voice and emotion recognition technology, Pepper is able to read people’s facial expressions and listen to their tone of voice to analyse how they’re feeling.

The Aldebaran robots retail from 198,000 yen (£1,107 or $1,600) and can understand 80 per cent of conversations.  They also have the ability to learn from conversations. Aldebran additionally makes Neo which has two cameras mounted to its head, that act as eyes, as well as four directional microphones to act as its ears. The 1ft 11in (58cm) bot also has touch sensors, can speak 19 languages and is able to read and respond to emotions, by analysing facial expressions.

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