Japan’s In-Home Robot Experiment Short Circuits

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TOKYO—Japan’s humanoid robots are struggling to find homes.

SoftBank Group Corp.’s robotics unit said Tuesday it stopped manufacturing a humanlike robot called Pepper in August last year due to a lack of demand for new units.

Pepper is a child-sized humanoid robot that can recognize human faces and emotions, and engage in basic conversation.

SoftBank introduced the robot in 2015 with a price tag of nearly $2,000 in anticipation that robots would become mass-market technology like smartphones for use around the home.

However, most Pepper units ended up being rental models used in SoftBank’s mobile phone shops, as well as hospitals, schools and restaurants, where the robot typically greets diners as they arrive.

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