New RoBoHon from Sharp Aimed at Families and Firms
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The new RoBoHon from Sharp has been released just a couple of weeks ago with three new models, aimed at normalizing the use of robots in households and in businesses.
Sharp’s new lineup for RoBoHon includes two walking robots (one priced at around USD1600; the other at around USD1100) and one that remains seated, with the seating robot costing around USD715. But it must be noted that RoBoHon is actually a smartphone disguised as a robot, so it still retains a lot of features available on smartphones. The robot has the screen of a phone located on its belly.
The smartphone inside RoBoHon has been upgraded to Android 8.1 from Android 5.0. It also has a 2.6-inch display (an increase of .6 inches from the previous models), a Snapdragon 430 chipset, 16GB storage, 2GB RAM, and an 8-megapixel camera, among others. The projector that came with the old models of RoBoHon has been ditched. Aside from these hardware features, the robot also has a voice activity detection software built into it which allows it to detect and identify the user’s location with his voice. The robot can then move into the user’s location.
Sharp reportedly collaborated with University of Tokyo professor and Robo Garage CEO Tomotaka Takahashi for the development of RoBoHon.
RoBoHon for home use
The company claims that the robots were made for families with small children to get used to a life with robots. What’s more, the company also said that the number of apps that can be downloaded on the RoBoHon models will increase to 46, from their current capacity of 30. One of the apps enables the robot to take a picture of a family member returning home and sending that picture to the registered user’s email address. Home monitoring can also be enabled through an app for an extra monthly charge of 300 Yen or around USD3 plus taxes. Another app can allow children to program the robot to follow a series of commands like saying hello and sitting down. One of the available apps can also allow users to remotely control home appliances, like other internet-of-things devices.
One of the walking robots can tap into mobile phone networks and the other relies on Wi-Fi connection. To continue using the robots, users must pay a monthly fee of 980 Yen or around USD9 a month for each robot.
RoBoHon for corporate clients
To cater to the needs of corporate clients, Sharp is looking at the prospect of adding apps that could allow RoBoHon to explain details about products and during exhibits in showrooms, in stores, or even in museums. Another app can also enable RoBoHon to act as a receptionist that can use multiple languages such as English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
RoBoHon as travel buddy
RoBoHon can also act as your travel buddy when you are traveling in Japan. It can hold short conversations, take some snapshots, and even entertain you through dancing and singing. RoBoHon can work as a smartphone and as a virtual assistant. It can make and take calls, receive emails, and even suggest things that you can do based on your location. This robot can also discuss recent renovations in places like Tokyo Railway Station and the history of the places in Japan.
RoBoHon is available for rent too, and it can be found at Haneda Airport where you can rent it for USD12 a day, with discounts for longer rentals.
Available only in Japan
RoBoHon is said to be available only in Japan since it only works with the networks in Japan. It is reportedly activated through a cloud service that only Japanese residents can subscribe to.
Sharp believes that the robot is the first robot-smartphone hybrid in the market.