Um, thanks? I guess? This is Cocorobo-chan. It's an anime girl vacuum cleaner you can talk to.
The original Cocorobo launched a few years back, and it might look like a Roomba clone, but it's way smarter, featuring speech recognition software and the ability to utter a few phrases.
From Sharp's Cloud Labs, the idea behind this "premium Cocorobo," which is still in development, is voice acting meets manga meets home appliances. The result sounds like a more intelligent (and more kawaii) robot.
According to NicoNico, it's possible for premium Cocorobo users to converse with the device. Sixteen year-old voice actress Ibuki Kido, who voices Asami Himuro on the popular anime Aikatsu!, brings Cocorobo-chan to life as a kid-sister type character in vacuum bot form. (Note that "Cocorobo-chan" is not a finalized name.) Artist Kinusa Shimotsuki is handling the character's illustrations.
You can apparently have conversations with Cocorobo-chan like...
User: "You have a cute voice."
Cocorobo-chan: "Thanks. You're making me blush."
User: "You're good at cleaning."
Cocorobo-chan: "N-not really. I'm not cleaning so you can compliment me."
Sharp, NicoNico reports, is responding to consumers who said they wanted a robot appliance with an appealing voice—or something. Right now, GetNews adds, the company is looking for eleven trial users to test this vacuum bot with for about a month. No word yet as to when (or if) it will go on sale.
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.