Japan’s robots take on growing range of jobs

Humanoid robots, which move almost as naturally as humans, are fulfilling an increasingly broad range of roles in Japan. Behind their popularity are improvements in sound and image recognition technologies, and the ability to manufacture robots with highly developed powers of expression. These robots are currently used just to attract public attention, and further technical innovation and a reduction in manufacturing costs are essential requirements to disseminate such robots more widely. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is one company eyeing the use of humanoid robots, and has begun studying how to introduce information clerk robots at its department stores. As an initial step, it plans to have robots handle reception services and inquiries at stores in central Tokyo in a few years. Isetan Mitsukoshi’s future vision calls for the robots to take…

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