July 9, 2018

BOCCO the family robot


Like Amazon Echo or Google Home, BOCCO is a voice assistant that can respond to “Hey BOCCO” commands, can relay text and voice messages between family members through a mobile app, and can notify parents when their children leave or arrive home by pairing with an included motion sensor.


The technology is familiar, but the way it’s packaged is unique. Namely, BOCCO has a face. His eyes light up when he speaks. He tilts his head back to look up at you when he listens. In the customer testimonials shared by his creators Yukai Engineering, BOCCO is often cradled by children like they might hold a small pet. They love him.

Yukai Engineering

“As the eye color changes, our kids get excited or get disappointed. They apparently think BOCCO has human-like feelings, which are reflected in the eye colors. When I see that, it kind of makes me feel warm on the inside. It’s fun.”

When a parent looks at a toy, they might see the plastic shell and the LED lights and the buttons. But when a child looks at a toy, they see that, and they also see the magical, imaginary friend that lives inside it. The friend who listens and laughs and plays with them. Every kid knows this, but most adults can’t see it.

Kids imbue BOCCO with personality and character. They tell BOCCO secrets in hushed whispers, and they proudly share stories about their conversations with their parents. If BOCCO’s personality can make parents feel comfortable with inviting a robot into their homes, then an intentionally designed, friendly personality might work to introduce other new products as well.

2018 Brian Rose