February 8, 2015 weblog
Hotel robots in Japan will perform a range of tasks
This summer, you could be walking into a theme-park hotel to find the greeter is not a person but a robot. Once you stop rubbing your eyes, you will see that a robot appears, to carry your bags to your room. Once you get used to this hotel, you will probably not be very surprised to find the cloakroom attendant is a robot as well as the cleaner.
Welcome to the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which intends to have a staff of ten robots on hand. They will perform traditional hospitality tasks, from service to cleaning. This hotel will also feature other advanced technologies, said reports. Guestroom doors will provide access via facial-recognition technology. Solar power will help save energy, and equipment will include LED lights. Guests can request any needed items through a tablet. Air conditioners are so yesterday. "A radiation panel will detect body heat in rooms and adjust the temperature," said a report from CNN.
The hotel will be in the theme park, Huis Ten Bosch, which is modeled after the Netherlands in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture. The hotel is to be called Henn-na Hotel, and "Henn" is part of the Japanese word for change. "The theme park in Sasebo uses actual-sized copies of old Dutch buildings to bring the experience of the Netherlands to Japan," said The Japan Times, and it also said the hotel will be promoted with the slogan, "A Commitment for Evolution." The first building in the complex will open in July with 72 rooms with another 72-room building next year.
Huis Ten Bosch president Hideo Sawada told a news conference that "In the future, we'd like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots." Robert Loos, managing director, Robotics Today, said one of the companies involved in this hotel technology feat is Kokoro. "Interestingly," he wrote, "Kokoro is best known as being part of a larger company named Sanrio that is in charge of licensing the extremely popular Hello Kitty line of products. Each manufacturer will handle a different aspect of the hotel's robotic staffing needs, and Kokoro will be producing all of the female android receptionists that will greet each guest." According to The Guardian, about 10 human employees will work alongside their robotic colleagues.
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