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CES 2019: What Bocco Emo robot lacks in eyeliner, it makes up for in empathy

The robot offers companionship and home monitoring. Plus, it's still cute with the "E".

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Sugar, we're going... to be your friend.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Sometimes all you need is a little friend.

That's where Yukai's Bocco Emo, an updated version of the original Bocco robot, comes in. Meant to offer companionship for children and senior citizens while also keeping tabs around the house, the Bocco Emo robot arrived at CES 2019 and includes more empathetic features than its predecessor.

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Like its predecessor, which launched in 2015, the Bocco Emo can still read out text messages, control your smart home devices and notifies you if your doors are locked. However, it can also give you weather info and appear more "empathetic" and expressive. It responds when it hears its name and emotes when it reads out messages. It can also recognize the emotional state of the speaker depending on their tone of voice and react accordingly.

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Qoobo the circle pillow cat launched last year.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

In addition to personal use, Yukai also aims to work with businesses who want to use Bocco robots for concierge and front desk greeting services. It can work with a Wi-Fi network, but if one is not available it can connect to the internet using a SIM card as well.

Yukai is scheduled to release Bocco Emo by fall 2019. Though no pricing has been announced, the original Bocco isn't cheap. It cost $240 (about £188 and AU$335, converted), so expect the Bocco Emo to cost about the same if not more.

In addition to Bocco Emo, Yukai brought back Qooba, a fluffy, furry pillow with a robotic tail. Weighty, dense and measuring about the size of a backpack, Qooba is basically a very round cat without arms or legs. While it doesn't cough up fur balls or knock household items off the shelf, it does react whenever you pet it by wagging its tail back and forth.

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