If you’re easily lost in large malls, you’ll soon have a robot friend helping you out. Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) based in Osaka has demonstrated a humanoid robot that recognizes people who seem lost and helps them on the spot. His name is Robovie, and he seems 50% creepy and 50% cute. I would want him to help me if I were lost, but I would also be wondering how he plans to disembowel me and take over the world with his machine friends. His Stormtrooper colors don’t help put me at ease, either.
His helpfulness was recently put on display at the Universal Citiwalk in Osaka. In an earmarked area measuring 100 square meters the robot scanned every passerby’s face. He had the help of 16 cameras, 6 laser range finders and 9 RFID tag readers installed in and around the area that acted like eyes and ears. He proceeded to watching 20 people at a time, and read their actions to group them in 10 different categories like waiting, wandering, running, etc.