The Japanese-made robot, Robovie, has become the latest employee at a store in Osaka, Japan, with the task of ensuring customers wear masks and practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The robot, developed by the International Institute for Advanced Communication Research (ATR), guides customers across the sales floor of the Cerezo Osaka football team’s official store.
Robovie warns customers when he detects through the camera and 3D laser beam technology that they are not wearing masks or are not adhering to social distancing rules.
During the past week, the robot was used experimentally, and it may continue to be used at least until the end of the month, and the International Institute for Advanced Communication Research (ATR) said: Its use is extended according to the situation.
With around 120,000 reported coronavirus cases and nearly 2,000 deaths, Japan has survived the epidemic better than many countries, and people often adhere to requests to wear masks.
Japanese authorities are calling for vigilance after the resurgence of cases, as the weather becomes colder and people spend more time indoors.
The new robot provides an innovative response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and an indication of how technology companies are providing solutions to human problems.
The Robovie developers hope the experience will reduce the close contact between shoppers and employees, adding that they believe most people feel less embarrassment when asked by a robot instead of humans.
The potential for robots to play an important role in responding to future outbreaks is very promising.
Robots have played important roles in isolation centers and hospitals, providing safe solutions to high-risk and dangerous situations for humans.
The use of robots in Japan also includes cheering, as in June the robots were spotted during the professional baseball match between the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawk and Rakuten Eagles.
The host team, owned by the giant Softbank, used more than 20 robots to dance within the platform, which was completely empty in a style designed according to the team’s fighting song.