If you need a co-pilot for a cross-country drive or just someone to tell your problems to when a friend or psychiatrist is unavailable, Toyota now offers a robot to take care of your needs.
The car maker has revealed Kirobo Mini, a baby-sized, bionic companion that is designed to interpret people's facial reactions to converse about how they are feeling. Kirobo Mini speaks and moves its head and arms; it will cost $400 when it first becomes available next year via dealerships in Toyota's home country of Japan.
It will come with a case that can be used as a car seat for the 4-inch gizmo in the cup holder in a vehicle. Cute, huh?
Here's a YouTube video demonstrating the robot:
Meanwhile, Japan seems to be at the forefront a robot revolution that could sweep the globe in the next five or 10 years.
Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor at Osaka University, gave a presentation at SXSW Interactive in March where he explained how bionic helpers in retail spaces would soon become a reality in his country. Read more about it here.