Pepper – The Social Robot Who Learns to Interpret Its Surroundings

Humanoid robot as interactive partner and assistant

Members of the Cluster of Excellence CITEC conduct research on human-robot interaction using various platforms. Pepper is used to study social interaction and how patterns of motion are learned.

The humanoid robot Pepper is meant to be able to interact with humans in as natural and intuitive ways as possible. For this reason, researchers at CITEC are working on making Pepper able to reliably recognize its environment and attentively understand reactions from humans. The researchers are especially interested in the interface between human and robot. As an additional feature, people can also see the world as Pepper sees it with the help of augmented reality glasses.

Pepper the Robot
Pepper stands at 1.2 meters tall, and is equipped with a tablet computer as an input interface, as well as various sensors. The robot is developed and sold by the company SoftBank Robotics. Pepper also features one 3-D and two HD cameras, two ultrasonic microphones and speakers, six laser sensors, and four directional microphones in its head. Three omni-directional wheels allow it to move freely and rotate up to 360 degrees.     

Together with basic components from the manufacturer SoftBank, CITEC researchers use this hardware to develop new abilities for the robot. For example, Pepper is supposed to learn how to throw a ball and how to be a museum guide, dealing with its guests’ behavior. In the long-term, these newly developed capabilities will be made available on various robot platforms.

In order to test Pepper’s abilities under realistic and comparable conditions, the CITEC team participates in world championship competitions of the RoboCup@Home household service league. After Pepper’s first appearance in 2017, the humanoid robot will also compete in 2018 in Montreal, Canada, against international competitors in the research areas of speech recognition, navigation, and person and object recognition.

Central Lab Facilities, Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Research Group Cognitive Systems Engineering
Research Group Applied Informatics


Dr.-Ing. Sven Wachsmuth
Bielefeld University
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Telephone: 0521 106-2937