Japanese Store Unveils Robot Receptionist
Image via YouTube
Not since Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” have we been so thoroughly creeped out by a robot.
Unfortunately, disturbing patrons doesn’t seem to be the impetus for a Tokyo installation that unveiled its newest worker.
The Telegraph’s Charlotte Krol reports on the Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store in Japan, which just welcomed Aiko Chihira to its location.
As you will see, it’s this robot’s job to serve as the store’s receptionist, welcoming each visitor with a blank look and an awkward nod.
The report calls it a “life-like android robot,” but it’s about as life like as a block of cheese melting on the sidewalk. And we will wait on the android talk until it can serve as a commander on the USS Enterprise like Data.
However, we guess, you should be the judge:
Mio Sakai, who has to work next to a creepy android with a lifeless stare, spoke to reporters: “I was a bit concerned because her smile is a bit stiff.”
The receptionist pauses in the video to look behind her, presumably to allay any fears of a sudden android uprising, and continues: “Also, she’s always facing the front so she can’t really look at the customers’ eyes when she speaks.”
For now it seems the robot is little more than an exotic curio, and a fantastic one at that. It will dole out directions, as well as smiles, to customers that come across its path.
For others, we imagine the chance meeting will lead to frantic sprints away from the store altogether.
Krol writes on the details behind the marvel: “Toshiba is developing the technology behind the robot's body movements as well as syncing the movements of Aiko's mouth and voice. The system also uses technology developed by android pioneer Hiroshi Ishiguro at the Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.”
If you are in the area and want to see what the future of shopping will look like, head over and see the magical Aiko Chihira. After Tuesday its home will be on the seventh floor until May 5.
There is no word what happens after May 5, but we would stock up on water and provisions just in case.
More by Gabe Zaldivar
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