Emotional Cocorobo vac-bot wants to suck up to you

Sharp's Cocorobo can speak Chinese, Japanese, and English.


We all crave more interactive, slightly frightening robots, right? It’s kinda thrilling. Thank the maker, then, that Sharp is coming out with pricey floor-cleaning droids that can jabber away in three languages.

The voice-controlled Cocorobo can kibitz in English, Chinese, and Japanese, even in the latter’s Kansai dialect associated with the city of Osaka. It’s the choice of standup comics, so this robot could come across as slightly funnier than, say, a HAL 9000.

Imagine Roomba replying to you with a bit of Texas slang.

Cocorobo will respond to verbal cues with one of 36 phrases, not exactly loquacious by any stretch. But Cocorobo, a play on kokoro (heart or mind) in Japanese, attempts to make up for that with functions such as purifying the air while it vacuums.

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