Wakamaru is a friendly helper robot that can carry on conversations with people, recognize faces, and shake hands. It's been used as a domestic assistant, office receptionist, event host, and sales rep.
Did you know?
Wakamaru is smart enough to call 911 (or the Japanese equivalent) if it suspects something is wrong.
The first Wakamaru prototype was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2003. A commercial model was introduced to the Japanese market in 2005 at a price of around US $15,000. The company called Wakamaru the "world's first communication robot," and claimed it was "highly reliable and safe in a variety of different family environments" after testing the robot in real homes in Tokyo. However, sales in Japan and abroad were much smaller than the company expected, and by 2007 the robot was mainly being used as a receptionist in corporate offices. Despite not being a commercial success, Wakamaru is recognized as a milestone in human-robot interaction and one of the first attempts at deploying advanced humanoid robots in real-world environments.