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How this Toyota robot detects your emotions

Mar 05, 2017

Do you think of your car as a companion? One in three of us would describe our vehicle as an ‘old friend’.

While you might not be able to shop for a vehicle that can recognize your emotions just yet, there is something else

At Toyota we have a traveling companion that can do what our cars can’t yet do. Say hello to Kirobo Mini.

Kirobo Mini

What does Kirobo Mini do?

Available from this year at Toyota dealerships in Japan, Kirobo Mini sits at 10cm high and is designed as a communication partner developed to provide companionship.

It follows on from Kirobo, Toyota’s jointly-produced robot astronaut that went to the International Space Station in 2013.

Kirobo Mini can engage in casual conversation and recognize facial expressions to give context to the words spoken. These conversations can become tailored to an individual based on Kirobo Mini’s ability to remember things such as your likes or dislikes and places the two of you have been.

Even on the road, Kirobo Mini has the ability to connect with compatible cars to integrate information about a journey into the conversation, such as congratulating a driver after completing a long drive.

So while your car might not be able to recognize how you are feeling just yet, Kirobo Mini is the next best thing.

So how does Kirobo Mini work? A built-in camera enables Kirobo Mini to recognize people's facial expressions, through which it tries to detect their emotions so that it can adjust its manner of speaking and movement accordingly.

Why Kirobo Mini?

A mini-robot that can hold a conversation may seem like a departure from the Toyota products that drivers in Canada will be familiar with. Yet when you look closer, there is a common thread between Kirobo Mini and a Corolla.

Building vehicles to become irreplaceable partners means fostering a connection between humans and machines.

By developing a humanlike interaction between man and machine, Kirobo Mini is an extension of the same principle.

Ultimately both Kirobo Mini and Toyota vehicles are born out of one idea “Inspiring the Heart, inspiring you.”

Where can I get one?

Unfortunately at this time Kirobo Mini is only available at Toyota dealerships in Japan.

However if Kirobo Mini is coming to Canada, you can be sure that you will read about it here first.