Humanoid robots, which move almost as naturally as humans, are fulfilling an increasingly broad range of roles in society.
Behind their popularity are improvements in sound and image recognition technologies, and the ability to manufacture robots with highly developed powers of expression. These robots are currently used just to attract public attention, and further technical innovation and a reduction in manufacturing costs are essential requirements to disseminate such robots more widely.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is one company eyeing the use of humanoid robots, and has begun studying how to introduce information clerk robots at its department stores. As an initial step, it plans to have robots handle reception services and inquiries at stores in central Tokyo in a few years.
Isetan Mitsukoshi's future vision calls for the robots to take orders, fetch goods and talk with customers. Human sales staff will concentrate entirely on such things as providing detailed explanations of goods, leading to better customer service.
Toshiba Corp. installed a female robot called Chihira Junko at a commercial complex in Minato Ward, Tokyo, last year. When users operate an input screen, the robot provides information on tourist facilities and other subjects in Japanese, English or Chinese.
source by the-japan-news