Researchers at Western Michigan University have now acquired a piece of technology that will help them study how humans and robots interact.

WMU says that in late July, an anonymous donor provided them with “Pepper”, a 4 foot tall humanoid robot that specializes in communication. The Kalamazoo researchers say they intend to conduct studies to determine whether humans respond better to a robot that is straightforward and simple, or if they instead respond more readily to a “human-like” robot with emotions and mannerisms we tend to see in our daily lives.

Pepper is a robot produced by the Japanese company SoftBank, and is already used for a variety of commercial applications in Japan and Europe, with one example “offering recommendations for wine, books, and recipes” to customers of a retail store.

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