Pepper The Robot Will Politely Suggest You Wear a Mask

Published on August 11, 2020
Image Credit: [SoftBank Robotics Europe]

Pepper is quite the versatile robotic butler. It can provide customer service such as providing crucial info regarding train and bus stations. It can even sell you a smartphone or take your Pizza Hut order. Now, though, with the COVID-19 pandemic is full-swing, Pepper is on a public health mission. The popular humanoid robot is now scanning faces to see if people are wearing masks.

In a bid to curb the relentless spread of the coronavirus, France is now requiring anyone over the age of 11 to wear a mask while in closed-in public places. Other European countries are drafting similar laws, so leave it to SoftBank’s European Robotics division to issue an update that allows Pepper to detect face masks, or more importantly, the lack there of.

Using image recognition AI, Pepper is able to scan up to 5 faces at a time. Then, on the tablet side, a green circle surrounds the picture of those who are wearing the proper face attire, while a red circle surrounds the image of anyone who is not. Pepper can also show appreciation for those that wear masks and, conversely, remind those that aren’t to put a face covering on.

According to Japan’s SoftBank, Pepper doesn’t store or transmit any of your personal data. They also mentioned that it should work with masks that have fairly complex patterns and color combinations. Pepper will also provide you with useful daily statistics, such as the total percentage of those that comply with mask orders.

Featured Image Credit: [SoftBank Robotics Europe]

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