Humanoid Robot Debuts in Storefront Valentine’s Day Experiment
Patiently, she sits… waiting for her Prince Charming to call. But her phone isn’t ringing. And it’s not that she isn’t attractive… it’s that she’s a robot.
Her name is Geminoid F and she’s been sitting in a display case at Tokyo’s Takashimaya department store for more than a week. Vice Manager, Naoto Nomura, says Geminoid F gives the store cachet:
“Department stores used to represent the cutting edge, but people no longer think that. That’s why we decided to display this sort of cutting-edge Japanese technology here.”
But Geminoid F’s presence serves a scientific purpose, as well. Her creators want to observe the interaction between her and passing shoppers with an eye to future societies where robots and humans will interact on a daily basis.
Kohei Ogawa is a member of the Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory:
“Valentine’s Day is the season of the love. When programming this robot we tried to make it so that she would sit and expect someone to come and keep repeating that cycle. All in all, we worked to make it so that the android would be able to show the romantic charms of a lady.”
And it seems to be working.
One shopper, Yuta Mori, says he might just be the man Geminoid F has been waiting for:
“It’s looks really human-like, not like a doll at all. Even when I get close to her, I saw how high quality her skin was and how she stared back into my eyes.”
The Valentine’s experiment is not the first in which Geminoid F has been introduced to the public.
In 2010, she was cast as the star of “Sayonara,” a futuristic play about an intimate relationship between a dying woman and her android caretaker. The play was well received.
For her creators, Geminoid F’s gradual integration with society is all-important to future robotic technologies. If the public can accept Geminoid F on stage and as a department store display, robot scientists say they’re more likely to accept her in their homes, offices and department stores in years to come.