Some robots are built for industry, others are designed to be eerily lifelike, yet more as toys and then there are the companion bots. The Lovot from Groove X is made to be loved. This strange creature out of Japan hosts a bunch of sensors that feed machine learning brains so that it can make its owners happy, as it rolls around looking for a hug.

In development for 3 years, the 255 x 430 x 255 mm (10 x 17 x 10 in), 3 to 4 kg (6.6-8.8 lb) Lovot features a primary 4-core x86 processor with 8 GB of RAM and both 4-core and 2-core ARM processors and 4 GB of RAM providing a supporting role. Its makers say that the lil robot uses machine learning to react to user engagement and situations in real time, courtesy of a sensor array on its horn-like head and at its "feet" feeding in all manner of useful data.

It comes rocking a depth camera, a wide angle camera and a thermal camera, a pressure sensor, light sensor, heat and humidity sensors. The Lovot has touch sensors throughout the body, four microphones, two LCD displays for eyes, a motorized neck that can raise and lower the head and a single speaker.

It moves around the house courtesy of two drive wheels to the front that retract inside the body when the robot is picked up, and a stabilizer roller at the rear. Groove X says it boasts 13 degrees of freedom from its movable components.

Bluetooth, wireless LAN and mobile network connectivity are all cooked in, and there's an 89 Wh Li-ion battery that should allow the Lovot to roll around for 45 minutes for every 15 minutes on charge at the Nest module.

The Nest features its own dual-core processor, 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage, together with wireless comms for talking to, and wirelessly charging, the Lovot.

The Lovot huggable robot will be offered as a pair for around JPY 598,000 (US$5,400) – which is due to release at the end of 2019 – and a single unit for JPY 349,000 (US$3,100) – expected some time during 2020. Pre-orders are open now. The video below has more.

Source: Groove X

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