updated 04:30 pm EDT, Wed March 26, 2008
Toshiba on Wednesday showed off a talking, learning robot it calls the ApriPoko, which asks questions and learns remote control functions to make jobs such as turning on various electronic devices a voice-operated task. Users can tell ApriPoko to switch channels or turn on the TV when they're out of remote range, which operates on line-of-sight. Still a prototype, the robot functions by asking questions from its chest-mounted speaker. Once it detects an infra-red signal from a remote, it will ask what function just took place; it then commits an answer to memory thanks to a built-in microphone and sends a corresponding IR signal when it hears the same words in the future.
The ApriPoko is the third in a line of robots from the Japanese company, with the ApriAlpha released in 2003 and the ApriAttenda in 2005. The ApriPoko is 10.6 inches tall, 8.6 inches wide, and weighs just over 5 lbs. Toshiba has not clarified when it expects the robot to translate to production hardware. [via Asahi]