Toshiba humanoid robot greets customers at retail store in Japan

Adam Milton-Barker | May 1, 2015 | Drones and Robotics | 3400


As most of the world goes along unaware of the advancements that are being made in the robotics industry, we are moving closer and closer to a world where robots and artificial intelligence will work shoulder to shoulder with humans in everyday life. Robotics and artificial intelligence are already taking a major role in the automation of our world behind the scenes, but more and more they are slipping out into the open and being introduced to the general public. Toshiba and the Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory have been developing a humanoid android named Aiko Chihira which Toshiba announced in 2014. The android cannot be marked up as artificial intelligence at this moment, as she currently only makes conversation using pre-programmed scripts, but never the less, she definitely marks the first steps towards the integration of robots into our lives. On April 20th, Aiko was introduced to the public at the Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store in Tokyo. Members of the public and the media were present to see the android meet and greet customers. As well as speaking Aiko can also perform sign language and sing, she has human like features such as blinking and expressions, but is currently still a bit out of sync, something that her creators want to enhance in the near future. Suprisingly most of the people at the department stores were impressed by the android and spoke well of her, it definitly shows that human acceptance of androids, robots and artificial intelligence in our communities is a possibility. Aiko is not the first robot to be used in retail, last year Nestle unveiled its robotic salesman named Pepper, but Aiko is easily the most life like that is available at the moment. In July the Henn-na Hotel will open and will be staffed by 10 robots, but there will still be some humans around. I will keep you up to date with the progress of Aiko, but for now to find out more check out the videos on this page.