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Robot That Enforces Social Distancing And Mask-Wearing Tested In Japan

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Robot That Enforces Social Distancing And Mask-Wearing Tested In Japan

Japan is once again ahead of the game, having unleashed robots to make sure people are social distancing and wearing masks.

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The device has been keeping shoppers in Osaka in check, demanding that they have a facemask on while shopping.

For those that don't keep a safe distance from others, the robot will give them a telling off in order to keep shoppers safe.

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The robot, named Robovie, has been developed by The Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto.

It's being tested out in Osaka, in the hope of them being used to replace staff in stores in Japan to help stop contact between humans and hopefully stop the Covid-19 from spreading further in the country.

It's been programmed to recognise all 270 items that are on sale and helps shoppers to buy items as well as telling them how to stay safe.

When shoppers are looking through the store, it rolls over to them, asking: "What are you looking for?"

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Bit creepy, if you ask me.

The robot is being tested in Osaka
The robot is being tested in Osaka

He helps to take customers to the items they're looking for, essentially replacing the need for shop assistants.

In a Japanese news broadcast, reporters said: "If you use image recognition technology to find a customer who is not wearing a mask, you will be asked to cooperate in wearing the mask."

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It could mean that there will be fewer confrontations between customers and shop assistants - like we have seen a fair amount of over recent months.

NHK Hot News Ainu Mosir said: "At the laboratory, I expect that a robot with no emotions will be easier to accept without stress than a clerk will ask you to wear a mask."

Takayuki Kanda, director of the developed ATR, explained:"Through experiments, I would like to study how to speak and behave when paying attention, and find a method that is easy for customers to accept."

Robovie is being trialled until the end of November as it stands, but it could be extended.

Japan Today reports: "With the layout of the store inputted beforehand, the robot, equipped with a camera and sensors, is able to observe customer movements and measure distances using lasers as it patrols.

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"The robot identifies customers who are not wearing masks and calls on them to do so after institute staff confirm through the camera that it has not made an error.

"The robot, which can direct customers to products in the store, also warns people who are not socially distancing when lining up to pay."

Topics: World News, Coronavirus, Technology, Japan

Amelia Ward
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