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#203824 - 11/22/06 12:15 PM Greeter robot goes rental in Japan
Jack_Lantern Offline
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Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
It has finally happened, robots have entered the service industry.

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Greeter robot goes rental in Japan

Japanese businesses looking for an employee with tireless enthusiasm and an unrivalled work ethic can now hire robot workers for an hourly wage.

The 113-centimetre-tall bot, called "Ubiko", can welcome visitors, answer questions and carry objects. The company behind the robot is Tokyo-based Ubiquitous Exchange, which is developing Ubiko with another robotics firm, Tmsuk, based in Kitakyushu, southern Japan.

Following successful tests involving robot receptionists at a hospital in central Japan, Ubiquitous Exchange has decided to make Ubikos available for businesses to hire.

The blue and white robot has large ears and a single large video camera for an eye. It can answer simple verbal inquiries, making it suitable for use as a receptionist or a guide in airports or train stations, its makers suggest.
Classroom assistant

Henrik Hautop Lund, a robotics researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, says the decision to rent Ubiko out to employers reflects a wider change. "Ubiko is yet another example of how the service robots are becoming available for everyday life," Lund told New Scientist.

"There is currently a clear trend in both research and industry to engage in service robot development," he adds. "And we will see many other examples of service robots in the very near future."

But Lund adds that Ubiko robot may find little work outside of its native Japan, where consumers ,may be less accepting of robots in general. "It could certainly have a future in Japanese 24-hour stores," says Lund. "But, for export outside the Japanese home market, Ubiko must be developed further in terms of design and human-robot interaction."
Wage demands

The robot's wage demands are also unlikely to impress many prospective employers. Ubiquitous Exchange charges ¥52,500 ($445) an hour for each robot – hardly competitive compared to human helpers, even in a country with a dwindling population, such as Japan.

The company insists that Ubiko is not overpriced, however. "If we look at these robots as advertising and public relations businesses, the price is quite cheap, actually," Sakurai says, adding that twenty companies are already on the waiting-list to receive one.

Two other robot assistants, produced by Tmsuk, made their debut last month at Aizu Central Hospital in central Japan, welcoming visitors at the entrance and answering spoken inquiries. These robots can carry luggage and escort visitors and patients to their destinations.
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Here is a link to Ubiko's website if you want to get a look at the robot. It has the voice of a midget on helium.

Ubiko
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#203825 - 11/22/06 05:20 PM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Nemo Offline
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Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 13212
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
Do you have to tip them?

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#203826 - 11/23/06 12:29 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Nemo]
Jack_Lantern Offline
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Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
Nah, they get paid enough as it is.
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"If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." -Benjamin Franklin

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#203827 - 11/23/06 05:39 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
KemAset Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Cape Town / South Africa
I dont think id ever get used to having a thing like that round the house

Too weird - but at least it doesnt talk back and it has an "OFF" switch

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#203828 - 11/23/06 08:43 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Biff Offline


Registered: 06/20/06
Posts: 370
Loc: Hong Kong, SAR
I'd like one of those thing at my door screaming 'HAIL SATAN' at people passing by.
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'Carpe diem quam minimum credulo postero' - Horace

'It's only hubris, if I fail.' - Caesar (HBO's Rome)

HAIL SATAN!

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#203829 - 11/24/06 04:12 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Biff]
KemAset Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Cape Town / South Africa
Ah what a brilliant idea!

I shall second that.... my one must have flashing red eyes (if they come with eyes)

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#203830 - 11/24/06 10:44 PM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Isabel23 Offline
CoS Magistra

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 2046
One article I read a while ago opined that the Japanese were much more open to such robotic service 'workers' because they (the Japanese) do not have to worry about face when interacting with the robots.
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#203831 - 11/24/06 10:48 PM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Isabel23]
Jack_Lantern Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
It could very easily work out that the Japanese end up dominating the market in commercial robots and the U.S. dominates with military robot applications. Such an outcome wouldn't suprise me.
_________________________
"If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." -Benjamin Franklin

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#203832 - 11/24/06 11:00 PM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Zaftig Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 09/23/06
Posts: 3415
I'm sure it'll be a hit in Japan, everything is automated in Tokyo. In a restaurant bathroom, I shut the door of my stall and sounds of a 'trickling brook' could be heard, triggered by the lock of my stall door.

So as not offend my fellow diners? To help me along in case I had some difficulty?
I don't know. It was kinda cool though.

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#203833 - 11/25/06 12:09 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Nemo]
redheadgrl Offline


Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 273
That'll be the major incentive to purchase the next software upgrade-same robot offers upgrades for a few dollars more-payable to robot along with tips. Robot brings tip back to the person in charge who programs robot to be more attentive to those who tip!

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#203834 - 11/25/06 05:37 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
tekku Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1262
Loc: Behind You
right...if that thing can do the ironing..i will take one
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And with strange aeons even death may die
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#203835 - 11/25/06 07:11 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
d3icide Offline


Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 5
Loc: South of Heaven
They should also create robots who knows how to play the guitar like Nergal of Behemoth.
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Kill one man and you're a murderer. Kill thousands and you're a conquerer. Kill them all and your a God.

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#203836 - 11/26/06 01:46 AM Re: Greeter robot goes rental in Japan [Re: Jack_Lantern]
DataLore Offline


Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 441
Loc: Holodeck 3
Those buggy tin cans put me out of work!


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