Friday, February 10, 2006

Robot for guiding customers to shops debuts in Japanese mall

FUKUOKA, Japan (Kyodo via COMTEX) -- A robot that guides customers to shops debuted Thursday at a shopping mall in Fukuoka Prefecture.

The robot, jointly developed by Tmsuk Co. of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, and NTT Communications Corp., is intended to help elderly and disabled shoppers, according to the companies.

It will be used at the mall -- called Diamond City Lucle -- in Kasuya on a trial basis until next Wednesday.

The 1.7-meter-tall robot is connected to the Internet via wireless LAN and can read data from IC tags embedded in the floor to check its location.

Customers can load their bags in a lockable box on the robot, punch in their destination on a monitor screen it carries, and the robot will take them there.

"It's convenient to have the robot carry my bags and shop without holding anything. It was fun," said Naomi Takeda, 36, a housewife from the city of Fukuoka, who was the first customer to use the robot.

Another robot, which can be wirelessly controlled through a personal computer, debuted in the mall the same day and will also be tested until next Wednesday. It can go to shops, take photos and send the photo images to a personal computer.


  1. A human being could serve this same function, but you have to pay human beings by the hour...

    This is all well and good, but if I were elderly or disabled, I'd rather have a "real" human being help me than a machine.

    If we continue to divorce humanity from life, we will no longer be human ourselves.

  2. Good points, Mitch.

    I think it's just another crazy Japanese experiment.