A Humanoid Robot in Japan Started Working a Human’s Job Today

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If regular human greeters just don’t seem as friendly as they used to, you can always hope that Toshiba Corp.’s alternative will come to a store near you one day.

The Japanese firm’s human-like robot, which goes by the name Aiko Chihira, finally made her promised debut this week at the front desk of Tokyo’s upscale Mitsukoshi department store, according to NBC News.

The female-looking robot was created to seem as human as possible in her appearance, speech and movement, which is powered by 43 motors that allow her to blink, bow and move her lips while speaking.

Designed to look friendly, Chihiri can exhibit several different facial expressions and offers customers a six-minute guidance tour about the store and its events.

Chihira is only programmed to speak Japanese but can also be programmed to speak additional languages, including sign language, although the robot is unable to hold conversations with humans.

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Introduced at CEATEC 2014, Chihira is not the first robot to be employed by retailers. Last year, Nestlé deployed Pepper, a white, interactive, 4-foot tall humanoid robot, to sell its coffee machines at various Japanese stores.

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