Designed by a company called Gifford Design, the “o-bot” stands out from its human counterparts, one reason being its design. Designed to be in-line with other “eyes” that humans already possess, this one doesn’t need anyone’s permission, and probably also doesn’t lie down under your feet. If it were a human, it would be physically in your face, much like our hands are for us. It’s basically a head attached to the body, so it can hide in places we don’t want to be able to look.

Designed as a “chatbot,” Gifford Design hopes that people will not assume they are a robot when they are chatting with it, because it would be too easy for us to get it to know that we are talking to it. It’s other uses range from a cooking app that lets you cook using your voice, to a bike chatbot that helps you find a suitable route, to a pram-bot that helps you find a suitable route. Of course, there’s a lot to be concerned about with a chatbot either way, but a sleek looking device with its own personality is comforting.

Also, its focus on people, not machinery, could change things for the better. In general, people who want to interact with robots have to be set up with flexibility, and once you’ve reached that point, you can start being able to engage with robots. The voice chatbot may be new for you, but it also didn’t hold back from asking for a grilled cheese sandwich. The Japanese company is working with Gifford Design, along with the University of Tokyo, to fine tune its features to help people with limited mobility learn more about it. For instance, it may allow for people with little or no feeling in their hands, and it might allow for a knee operation.

Source: Gifford Design via Bloomberg