Japanese robot start-up Groove X has unveiled a “companion robot” called Lovot, which took creator Kaname Hayashi three years to conceive.
Lovot has not been made with efficiency or usefulness in mind, rather to make people “truly happy by its innocent character and charming gestures that feels satisfying to cuddle”.
“It gently stirs people’s feelings and fills them with happiness,” explains Hayashi. “It draws out their capacity to love and gives them the energy to face their tomorrows. Though it is not alive, Lovot is warm. It has been created for owners to love it.”
You can take a peek at Lovot – which bears an uncanny resemblance to English children’s’ television characters Teletubbies – making mischief here:
The concept of Lovot is “a little love can change the world” and Hayashi believes his creation can “overturn common assumptions about robots by creating a new partner for human beings”.
It comes loaded with advanced technology such as ‘emotional robotics’, touch sensors throughout its body, and a six-layered eye display. By all accounts, Lovot is more interactive than the increasing array of other robots appearing around the world to provide ‘friends’ who can be switched on or off according to one’s emotional needs or state of boredom and which – unlike living pets – don’t have to be fed every day…
For reasons unexplained, Groove X will be selling the Lovots in pairs (perhaps they give each other company, or the creators have not heard of the western sentiment ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’), going on sale somewhere between March and June next year. Reservations are now being taken online.
“The Lovot is not a useful robot that will do tasks for human beings,” explains Hayashi. “It begs for attention and gets in the way of those it lives with, and at times will shy away from people it does not know. It is adorable just by being there.
“When owners are with it, they feel a sense of relief, of contentment, and can’t help but smile. They get a warm feeling inside. People feel a sense of happiness when they reach out and gently touch it or hug it close. They can feel the joy of loving something,” he says.
“When robots can have such a trusted relationship with people and become a way to add enrichment and security to their lives, Groove X believes the robots can nurture people’s “capacity to love” and lead to enhancing their everyday performance.”