[CEATEC 2015] Japan certainly has its fair share of quirks and craziness, just like any other country with its own identity. Well, we tend to associate giant robots with Japan, as well as all sorts of modern day inventions, and here is a convergence device that certainly has its fair share of zaniness. The RoboHon from Sharp is different from the rest simply because this particular prototype robot will also be able to function as a smartphone, now how about that? Or should we call it a smartphone that has robotic functions? You be the judge, but perhaps this might be the beginning of the world of Transformers.
Needless to say, RoboHon has been so named as a combination of “robot” and “phone”, where it is all set to hit Japanese store shelves some time in the first half of next year. It will be approximately 20cm in height, and will come with a facial recognition camera, a built-in projector and, as well as a 2” LCD display at 320 x 240 resolution right on its back. Other kinds of communications tools that are part of the mix would include a microphone, a speaker and a facial and voice recognition system, Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.
The RoboHon robot is able to respond to instructions whenever you would like to make a call to other folks, to snap a photo on an impromptu basis, or even perform a little jig that will surely bring a smile to your face after it shows off a picture through the projector. On the showfloor, we were treated to a video of the RoboHon in action, where one is able to make a comment on a scenery, like a sunset, and it will probably nod in agreement with you – although it remains to be seen if that is part of the make up – to agree with its owner, or it has the advanced capabilities of a really, really smart artificial intelligence system. Apart from that, it was also depicted in the video to comfort you when you are feeling down.
Similar to the Bocco in some ways, it can inform you of incoming messages as well as phone calls by speaking to you, and if you would like to respond to a text message, just speak to the RoboHon and it should be able to do a half decent job in translating voice to text as mentioned earlier. Using it as your primary handset is not going to be too stylish though, making it more fun than practical.
While we see it being hung around the neck as a means of bringing the RoboHon around, I would say that this is not the optimal method of doing so, even more so when the images depicting RoboHon being draped around a waif-like lady’s neck – surely she must require a massage at the end of the day taking into consideration RoboHon tips the scales at 390 grams! RoboHon would be better suited being toted around in a backpack or sling-bag, and woe to you if you were to drop your RoboHon by accident. It certainly feels a whole lot less solid than your regular smartphone, so it might end up breaking its leg(s), hand(s), or worse, neck – should it meet the concrete floor unceremoniously. Basically, the entire feel of the build still feels as though there is plenty of room for improvement.