Sharp's Robohon is both a cute robot and a smartphone

But is it really practical?

From the country that brought you pretty much every crazy robot you've ever seen, Sharp on Tuesday showed off a prototype robot that doubles as a smartphone -- or is that a smartphone in the form of a robot? It's not entirely clear, but it is cute.

The robot, called RoboHon (a mix of the words robot and phone), will go on sale in Japan in the first half of 2016. It stands just under 20 centimeters high and packs a camera, projector and, on its back, an LCD screen. Of course, there's also the mic, speaker and a facial and voice recognition system.

sharp robohon Martyn Williams

Sharp's RoboHon on show at Ceatec in Japan on Oct. 6, 2015.

In a demonstration on Tuesday at the Ceatec electronics show just outside of Tokyo, the robot responded to instructions to place a call to a person, take a picture, display the picture through the projector and do a dance.

Sharp RoboHon Martyn Williams

A person interacts with Sharp's RoboHon during a news conference in Japan on Oct. 6, 2015.

"Hey, there's a call for you," it said to its owner in a promotional video, which included other examples of the interaction it can accomplish.

"It's beautiful, isn't it," a person said to the robot while looking at a sunset.

"Yes, it's beautiful," replied the robot.

It's unclear if the robot was actually analyzing the scene and would be capable of disagreeing with its owner. Probably not, as that would be pretty sophisticated artificial intelligence.

Sharp also demonstrated it sitting in the top pocket of a jacket -- a great position to converse with its owner but something that is probably unlikely in real life.

Sharp RoboHon Martyn Williams

Sharp's RoboHon is seen in a jacket pocket during a news conference in Japan on Oct. 6, 2015.

But then, not much about the robot is really practical.

Sure, you can hold it to your face and use it like a phone -- something that makes you look a cross between cute and goofy.

"Practicality means a lot of different ways," said Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of robot development company RoboGarage, when asked if it was really practical. Takahashi worked with Sharp on the prototype.

"Our smartphone is practical, most of the use is for fun, but we treat it as practical. I think RoboHon is similar," he said before affirming that he can imagine using the RoboHon -- but not giving up his iPhone either. At least not for a couple of years while the technology improves.

sharp robohon Martyn Williams

Sharp's RoboHon on show at Ceatec in Japan on Oct. 6, 2015.

Sharp says it plans to release more information about the robot closer to its launch date in 2016.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Ceatec 2015

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?