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Furious Japanese man attacks phone shop robot

/ 07:47 PM September 09, 2015
Japanese telecom giant Softbank's humanoid robot Pepper (R) gestures alongside Tottori Prefecture Governor Shinji Hirai (L) as they promote the sale of watermelons produced in Japan's Tottori prefecture, at a shop promoting produce from the prefecture, in Tokyo on July 1, 2015. Softbank's subsidiary "cocoro SB" -- the world's first robot dispatch service -- has hired out Pepper as a sales promotion staff member for 1,500 yen (12.5 USD) an hour.       AFP

Japanese telecom giant Softbank’s humanoid robot Pepper gestures alongside Tottori Prefecture Governor Shinji Hirai as they promote the sale of watermelons produced in Japan’s Tottori prefecture, at a shop promoting produce from the prefecture, in Tokyo on July 1, 2015. On Sunday, one of the many Pepper robots in Japan was attacked by a drunken customer. AFP

A Japanese man who allegedly attacked a phone shop robot in a drink-fuelled rage because he was angry at customer service has been arrested, media said.

Kiichi Ishikawa, 60, was captured on security camera aiming a kick at the 120-centimetre (four-foot) -tall Pepper, a talking android used by mobile phone chain SoftBank to gather customer feedback.

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Reports suggested Ishikawa, who appeared to have been drinking, was annoyed at his treatment at the hands of a human member of staff, and took his annoyance out on the automaton.

Pepper, a moon-faced robot on rollers that has what looks like a tablet computer attached to its plastic body, has been billed by its makers as a human companion capable of understanding language and emotion.

The alleged attack on Sunday morning in a store in Kanagawa, near Tokyo, appeared to have slowed the speed of its reactions and dulled its movement, according to Sponichi, a tabloid newspaper.

Kanagawa prefecture police told AFP they were investigating how much it will cost to fix the robot, which is on sale at 198,000 yen ($1,600) plus monthly fees.

SoftBank has hundreds of Peppers in its stores nationwide.

As well as being offered for sale as a companion in robot-obsessed Japan, Pepper is also being used to sell coffee machines in one chain and greet customers at a Japanese bank. TVJ

TOPICS: Humanoid Robot, Japanese Robot, Kiichi Ishikawa, Pepper, robotics, Softbank
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