What is the NEC PaPeRo?NEC PaPeRo
The guys and gals at NEC's research and development division can have a bit of fun, you know. One such project is what NEC terms as PaPeRo (Partner-type Personal Robot).
The first PaPeRo prototype was developed in 1997 by NEC's Multimedia Research division. The present model, of which three are shown above, has neat capabilities. For example, it can identify a person's face by using advanced image recognition technology.
PaPeRo can also communicate verbally by using voice recognition technology, although the show's models were limited to Japanese. It can also understand a multitude of voices, as well. Two cameras in PaPeRo's 'eyes', linked into multiple sensors, allows it to know the location of a number of people in the same room.
A built-in mobile phone allows you to dial into PaPeRo and see what it is seeing, and several PaPeRos can communicate with one another. The 2005 model was powered by an Intel Pentium M CPU, so we'll probably see the 2006 iteration receive a dual-core boost.
Yes, it does resemble Sony's AIBO to some extent, but NEC's PaPeRo probably wins in the cute stakes. Both products are still some way off from being autonomous enough to interact with on anything other than the most basic level, yet the signs for the future are encouraging.