Pepper (robot)

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The robot Pepper standing in a retail environment
ManufacturerAldebaran Robotics (now SoftBank Robotics)
Year of creation2014 prototype
PurposeTechnology demonstrator

Pepper is a semi-humanoid robot manufactured by SoftBank Robotics (formerly Aldebaran Robotics), designed with the ability to read emotions. It was introduced in a conference on 5 June 2014,[1] and was showcased in SoftBank Mobile phone stores in Japan beginning the next day.[2][3] Pepper's ability to recognize emotion is based on detection and analysis of facial expressions and voice tones. Production of Pepper was paused in June 2021, due to weak demand.[4]


Pepper was introduced in Tokyo on June 5, 2014, by Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank.

Pepper was scheduled to be available in December 2015 at SoftBank Mobile stores.[5] Pepper went on sale in June 2015 with the first batch of 1,000 units selling out in just 60 seconds.[6]

Pepper was launched in the UK in 2016.[7]

By May 2018, 12,000 Pepper robots had been sold in Europe.[8]

In June 2021, it was reported SoftBank would pause production of Pepper, citing weak demand.[9] At the time, an estimated 27,000 units had been manufactured.[10]



Pepper is currently being used as a receptionist at several offices in the UK and is able to identify visitors with the use of facial recognition, send alerts for meeting organisers and arrange for drinks to be made. Pepper is able to chat autonomously to prospective clients. The first functioning Pepper receptionist in the UK was supplied by a SoftBank distributor and was installed in London at Brainlabs.

The robot has also been used at banks and medical facilities in Japan, using applications created by Seikatsu Kakumei.[11][12][13] and it is also used in all branches of Hamazushi restaurants in Japan.[8]

Pepper is being used in North American airports such as Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Canada. The robot is used to greet travelers, offer menus and recommendations.[14]

In 2018, Pepper robot was introduced first time in the UAE.[15]

In December 2019, a dozen of Pepper robots were installed at the "Pepper Parlor Café" in Tokyo, Japan.[16]


On 9 July 2020, a team of Pepper robots performed as cheerleaders at a baseball game between the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and the Rakuten Eagles, supported by a team of Boston Dynamics Spot quadrupedal robots.[17]


In 2017, Pepper was reported to have been used in thousands of homes in Japan.[18]


Pepper is available as a research and educational robot for schools, colleges and universities to teach programming and conduct research into human-robot interactions.

In 2017, an international team began research into using Pepper as versatile robot to help look after older people in care homes or sheltered accommodation. The project CARESSES[19] aimed at developing the world's first culturally-competent robot, received funding worth more than two million Euros, with donors including the European Union and the Japanese government. The project was expected to run for three years. Institutions involved in the research include University of Genoa (Project Coordinator), Örebro University, Middlesex University, the University of Bedfordshire, SoftBank Robotics, Advinia HealthCare, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Japanese coordinator), Nagoya University, Chubu University.[18] On Tuesday 16 October 2018, a Pepper robot mentioned the CARESSES project while giving evidence to the Education Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom Parliament.[20][21][22]

Long-term research with Pepper could show that residents of care home are willing to interact with humanoid robots and benefit from cognitive and physical activation that is led by the robot Pepper.[23] Another long-term study in a care home could show that people working in the care sector are willing to use robots in their daily work with the residents.[24] But it also revealed that even though that the robots are ready to be used, they do need human assistants, they cannot replace the human work force but they can assist them and give them new possibilities.[24]



Pepper in a Darty shop in France in La Défense, 2016.

Pepper is not a functional robot for domestic use. Instead, Pepper is intended "to make people enjoy life", enhance people's lives, facilitate relationships, have fun with people and connect people with the outside world.[25] Pepper's creators hope that independent developers will create new content and uses for Pepper.[26]


The robot's head has four microphones, two HD cameras (in the mouth and forehead), and a 3-D depth sensor (behind the eyes). There is a gyroscope in the torso and touch sensors in the head and hands. The mobile base has two sonars, six lasers, three bumper sensors, and a gyroscope.[27]

It is able to run the existing content in the app store designed for SoftBank's Nao robot.

  • Height: 1.20 metres (4 ft)
  • Depth: 425 millimetres (17 in)
  • Width: 485 millimetres (19 in)
Weight 28 kilograms (62 lb)
Battery Lithium-ion battery
Capacity: 30.0Ah/795Wh
Operation time: approx. 12hrs (when used at shop)
Display 10.1-inch touch display
Head Mic × 4, RGB camera × 2, 3D sensor × 1, Touch sensor × 3
Chest Gyro sensor × 1
Hands Touch sensor × 2
Legs Sonar sensor × 2, Laser sensor × 6, Bumper sensor × 3, Gyro sensor × 1
Moving parts Degrees of motion
Head (2°), Shoulder (2° L&R), Elbow (2 rotations L&R), Wrist (1° L&R), Hand with 5 fingers (1° L&R), Hip (2°), Knee (1°), Base (3°)
20 Motors
Platform NAOqi OS
Networking Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)
Ethernet x1 (10/100/1000 base T)
Motion speed Up to 3 kilometres per hour (2 mph)
Climbing Up to 1.5 centimetres (0.6 in)


In September 2015, a visitor frustrated with his customer experience in Tokyo lashed out against Pepper, damaging the unit.[6]

In 2018, a supermarket in Edinburgh, Scotland removed the service robot within a week as it was unpopular with customers. This was said to be due to high levels of background noise making the robot unable to hear questions properly, and customers being unwilling to interact with a robot when human help was available.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SoftBank Mobile and Aldebaran Unveil "Pepper" – the World's First Personal Robot That Reads Emotions". SoftBank. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  2. ^ Byford, Sam (5 June 2014). "SoftBank announces emotional robots to staff its stores and watch your baby – Pepper will go on sale for under $2,000 in February". Vox Media. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  3. ^ Nagata, Kazuaki (5 June 2014). "SoftBank unveils 'historic' robot – Cloud-linked machine reads emotions, can 'learn,' company says". The Japan Times. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  4. ^ "RIP Pepper robot? SoftBank 'pauses' production". BBC News. 29 June 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  5. ^ Dignan, Larry (5 June 2014). "Softbank, Aldebaran launch Pepper, an emotional robot". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  6. ^ Doyle, Siobhan (17 October 2018). "Pepper the robot makes parliamentary appearance". Engineering & Technology. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Olson, Parmy. "Softbank's Robotics Business Prepares To Scale Up". Forbes.
  8. ^ Kudo, Masaaki. "SoftBank stops making Pepper robot but says it isn't dead". Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  9. ^ Nussey, Sam (28 June 2021). "SoftBank shrinks robotics business, stops Pepper production". Reuters. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  10. ^ "ロボで認知症見守り 生活革命がシステム IoTで負担軽減". 日本経済新聞 電子版. 28 April 2017.
  11. ^ "ヒト型ロボの病院受付システム 生活革命などが開発". 日本経済新聞 電子版. 16 July 2015.
  12. ^ "武蔵野銀行:ペッパーで受付業務…番号呼び出しと連動". 毎日新聞.
  13. ^ "Pepper the Robot Lands at New North American Airports". Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Jacky's Business Solutions add SoftBank Robotics' humanoid robot, Pepper, to its Visitor Management Solutions portfolio | SoftBank Robotics".
  15. ^ "Discover the Pepper PARLOR Café | SoftBank Robotics".
  16. ^ "Robot cheerleaders support Japanese baseball team". BBC Sport. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  17. ^ a b Richardson, Hannah (30 January 2017). "Robots 'could solve social care crisis'". BBC News.
  18. ^ "CARESSES website".
  19. ^ "".
  20. ^ "A robot is going to appear before Parliament to give evidence". The Independent. 9 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Project of the Month: A world first as EU-funded project robot gives evidence on AI in a parliamentary hearing". EU Cordis. 29 October 2018.
  22. ^ Carros, Felix; Meurer, Johanna; Löffler, Diana; Unbehaun, David; Matthies, Sarah; Koch, Inga; Wieching, Rainer; Randall, Dave; Hassenzahl, Marc; Wulf, Volker (21 April 2020). "Exploring Human-Robot Interaction with the Elderly: Results from a Ten-Week Case Study in a Care Home". Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 1–12. doi:10.1145/3313831.3376402. S2CID 218483496.
  23. ^ a b Carros, Felix; Schwaninger, Isabel; Preussner, Adrian; Randall, Dave; Wieching, Rainer; Fitzpatrick, Geraldine; Wulf, Volker (May 2022). "Care Workers Making Use of Robots: Results of a Three-Month Study on Human-Robot Interaction within a Care Home". Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 1–15. doi:10.1145/3491102.3517435. ISBN 9781450391573.
  24. ^ "Artificial Intelligence levels up with Domestic Robots". The Skinny. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  25. ^ "FAQ About Pepper". Aldebaran. Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Find out more about Pepper". SoftBank Robotics. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  27. ^ Nichols, Greg (22 January 2018). "Robot fired from grocery store for utter incompetence". ZDNet. Retrieved 15 June 2020.

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