Japan to sell talking robots that won't try to make sense

Japanese android expert Hiroshi Ishiguro, left, talks with new talking robot Sota, right, Android robot Otonaroid, second left, and another talking robots CommU, center and second right, during a press event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan in Tokyo Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Ishiguro, the scientist behind the new talking robot in Japan says people should stop expecting robots to understand them, and instead try to chime in with robotic conversations. Ishiguro's 28-centimer (11-inch) tall button-eyed Sota, which stands for "social talker," is programmed to mainly talk with a fellow robot, and won't be trying too hard to understand human speech — the major, and often frustrating, drawback of companion robots. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO (AP) - The scientist behind a new talking robot in Japan says people should stop expecting robots to understand them, and instead try to chime in with robotic conversations.

Hiroshi Ishiguro's 28-centimer (11-inch) tall button-eyed Sota, which stands for "social talker," is programmed to mainly talk with a fellow robot, and won't be trying too hard to understand human speech - the major, and often frustrating, drawback of companion robots.

Sota, shown to reporters at a Tokyo museum Tuesday, goes on sale in July at under 100,000 yen ($850) each. To fully enjoy its features, one would have to buy at least two of them, although people can buy just one.

"Don't stop at just two. Please buy three or four," said Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University, who has previously shown a variety of robots that look eerily human, including one that's his double.

Ishiguro