Nicobo is a very adorable Panasonic companion robot that interacts and … farts
There have been many attempts at a robot pet, since that robot cat that already by 2006 appeared, until the robot seal as a companion robot for the elderly, passing with the non-furry (but no less endearing) Aibo de Sony. But Nicobo de Panasonic goes to an extreme that has fascinated us when it comes to robot pets.
It is something that is on the way to being between an adorable Pokémon and a cat, but endowed with a voice (in Japanese). It is soft and responds to touch and voice with “eye” movements and gestures, which is very cute and adorable, but not so much a certain “physiological” response that we did not expect: from time to time farts.
It doesn’t do “meow”, it does something else
Nicobo has been described as a cat, but as we said, its appearance and movements reminds us almost more of a fantasy being, especially when being able to talk to it. It is true that within its simplicity (a hemispherical body) it has a tail, which moves emulating that of a dog depending on the interaction in question.
Of course, its design is much more attractive and endearing than others companion robots that we have seen previously. And this was what Panasonic wanted, thinking about the reality that we are having to live with confinement during the pandemic and the possible situation of loneliness (perhaps also as an alternative to those who do not have the pleasure of telework with cats).
It has been developed in conjunction with the Michio Oka Laboratory of Toyohashi University of Technology. Nicobo is a robot that includes a camera to recognize faces, directional microphones, sensors (for caresses) and a light sensor to detect the photoperiod (daylight or its absence).
The grace, so to speak, is that they have wanted to introduce their personality or character to you. We are not going to be able to interact as if it were a person or obviously has a developed humor like a human being has, but they have managed to allow him to have his “bad days” and that from time to time instead of thanking the carantoñas emit a couple of wind gusts (fortunately only acoustic).
Nicobo is not going to vacuum the ground or will clean the windows, but we can’t stop seeing those gestures that he makes and, even though he speaks only in Japanese (and with little elaborate phrases, intentionally), he is really adorable. But unfortunately it will be difficult to get one, since Panasonic will only manufacture 320 units for about 297 euros to change for sale in Japan (without forgetting the monthly fee of about 8 euros after 6 months of use).
Despite the latter, the product has been well received because it began as a crowdfunding project and it far exceeded that phase. There is no information about his departure outside of Japan, but we will be vigilant in case it occurs (we would not mind doing a thorough analysis, despite the farts).