Can Pepper Solve Japan’s Repeat Offender Crisis?

A Tokyo half-way house will use Pepper humanoid robots to mentor ex-cons in hopes of preventing them from committing future crimes.

Photo Caption: Pepper can interact with humans by determining their feelings from the tone of their voice and their facial expressions.

We’ve seen some unique applications for Pepper, the humanoid robot from Aldebaran. Selling iPhones in Tokyo. Working on two cruise lines. And with the help of IBM Watson going forward, the sky’s the limit for Pepper.

But a pilot program in Tokyo might just be the most important use of Pepper yet. A Tokyo half-way house is turning to Pepper to mentor newly release convicts. The hope is the ex-cons will tell Pepper things they would not share with another human, which could help prevent them from slipping back into their old criminal ways.

Pepper, of course, can interact with humans by determining their feelings from the tone of their voice and their facial expressions.

Japan is having a major problem with repeat offenders. According to Japan’s Ministry of Justice, more than 47 percent of the people arrested in 2014 had previously been convicted of a crime, the highest figure since 1989.

Pepper stands just under 4 feet tall and has three omni-directional wheels. Pepper also has a 3D camera to detect passengers movements along with a 10 inch touch screen. If guests aren’t delighted, Pepper will probably be able to tell.

Pepper became available to Japanese consumers in June 2015. Since then, 1,000 units of the robot have gone on sale every month, each time selling out in a matter of seconds.

[Via] The Telegraph

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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