A hotel with a difference. Robots anyone?

When you check into a hotel, you expect a decorous greeting and a bright smile at reception. Imagine that you suddenly realise that the person you are speaking to is not really a human, but a robot. And she calls over another human-like robot to carry your luggage and take you along to your room? Does this sound like the future? Well think again, because it will happen sooner than you think.
Actually, it could really happen if you check into the Henn-na (strange) Hotel, in Nagasaki, Japan this year. This hotel is planning to ‘employ’ ten humanoid robots to serve its customers, starting in July. Developed by Japanese robotics company Kokoro, these robots are vastly improved versions of their previous prototypes. They will join the existing human staff, but if they are successful, the plan is to staff the hotel with 90% robot staff.
They don’t look like drab automated machines; these ‘actroids’ (as their manufacturer calls them) resemble young Japanese women with dark brown hair and delicate features. Three of them, at the front desk, can speak and understand Chinese, Korean and English besides their own native Japanese.
They can handle customer questions, they make hand gestures, and they can form different facial expressions as well as making eye contact. Researchers at Kinsai University are now working on enabling them to exhibit involuntary reactions like breathing, sweating and displaying goose bumps to make them seem even more realistic.
And that isn’t all that the Henn-na Hotel has on offer. Its rooms will open automatically using facial recognition and the room temperature will adjust to your body temperature.
How would you feel dealing with a robot receptionist? Would you find it strange or interesting? It truly is as William Gibson said, the future is here now, just not evenly distributed.

This entry was posted in Emerging Trends, Foresight and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.