A little like a penguin, a little like a sloth, Lovot is a companion robot with big googly eyes and an even bigger AI-powered heart.

It's designed and built by Kaname Hayashi, who's best known as "the father of Pepper," for designing Softbank's semi-iconic robot that can be found in banks, airports and many other public spaces around the world.

Lovot has been a passion project for Hayashi for many years now.

The last time I met with Pepper's dad was back in 2016, at the office of his company Groove X, high above the neon-lit Akihabara district of Tokyo.

He also told me he wanted the robot to help cure the epidemic of loneliness that's a particular problem in his home country of Japan.

Japan isn't the only country struggling with loneliness.

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