In late April the new ‘Chihira’ robot appeared at the reception desk of the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo. She is very lifelike and is certainly approaching, if not crossed into, the ‘uncanny valley‘. The robot is modeled after a 5’5″ 32 year old Japanese woman and ‘wears’ a silicone body to make her look almost human. Toshiba, the developer of ‘Chihira’ in collaboration with the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University, will likely be introducing ‘sister’ robots in the future. As for now this seems to be mostly a demonstration of technology and somewhat of a gimmick to bring in customers as the robot is limited to just pre-recorded messages for now.
How would you feel if you walked into a store and found a very human like robot?