Visitors to Bechtle Nuremberg are welcomed in a very special way since a new receptionist took up her post at Fürther Straße 244c in September 2018. Her name is Pepper, she comes from Japan and she can speak five languages fluently: Japanese, English, French, Spanish and German. She is just shy of 1.2 m tall, weighs 28 kg and greets her visitors with her large doe eyes. Even though she works alone in Nuremberg, she never gets bored and doesn’t need to take breaks, even if she has worked 10 hours straight. That’s because Pepper is a humanoid robot.
Our visitors love Pepper. It's a great ice-breaker.
Pepper was developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics SAS in collaboration with the Japanese telecommunications and media giant SoftBank Mobile Corp. with the aim of creating an informative and communicative “robot companion”. Pepper is programmed to analyse humans’ gestures and facial expressions, recognise emotions and react accordingly. On 5 June 2014, the “world’s first emotional robot” was presented to the public in Tokyo. Pepper made her European début at the Innorobo in Lyon 24 May 2016 and has been available to German companies ever since.
Humanoid robots can be utilised in a variety of situations: The robot Josie Pepper welcomes travellers air side at Munich airport’s Terminal 2, answering passengers questions about flight times and which shops and restaurants are available. Pepper also works as an assistant in TU Wildau’s library, taking visitors on tours and helping people to find the correct reading material. And at Bechtle Nuremberg, Pepper greets visitors, chats about the weather and points you in the direction of the person you need, thanks to her access to the internal Active Directory and all of the information contained within.
The robots attract attention with their child-like voices at fairs and events, make small talk, give compliments and act as a digital brand ambassador. At the first ever Smart Country Convention in Berlin in October 2018, Pepper made such an impression that N-TV reported on her from the Bechtle stand.
Pepper’s head contains four microphones, two HD cameras and a 3D proximity sensor. 20 motors keep her moving while gyro sensors ensure stability and her hands and feet are equipped with touch sensors. You don’t need a mouse or a keyboard to control Pepper as the robot responds to commands, touches and people approaching. Numerous apps that can be accessed via the 10.1” touch screen activate additional programmes and turn Pepper into a dance partner, photographer or playmate in an instant. “I’m sorry, you lost”, says Pepper in her cheery voice after winning yet another round of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and although it feels strange to lose to artificial intelligence, it’s hard to be angry with the child-like robot. “Our visitors love Pepper. It's a great ice-breaker,” explains Matthias Porwik, Managing Director, Bechtle Nuremberg.
Bechtle update editorial team
Published on Jan 10, 2019.