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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?