Toyota's cute Kirobo Mini robot will chat with you

Driving can sometimes be a solitary affair, heading from place to place with only the road and the radio for company, but that could change with Kirobo Mini.

It’s a small robot developed by Toyota that’s designed to act as a virtual companion, listening to and responding to chat from people in a car or just about anywhere. At 10 centimeters tall, its small size means it can easily be carried around.

The technology behind it is quite simple. Audio is sent from Kirobo’s microphone to a smartphone running a companion app. The phone passes the audio on to a Toyota cloud service that runs voice recognition and helps to determine the appropriate response. That is then sent back to Kirobo via the smartphone app.

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Toyota's cute Kirobo Mini robot will chat with you