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Toshiba sends customer service robot to work in Tokyo mall

Unfamiliar shopping malls can be daunting at the best of times, but we’re not sure Toshiba’s quite cracked the solution.

The Japanese electronics firm is debuting a helper robot at an upscale department store in Tokyo next week, and it’s as creepy as you might imagine.

According to Reuters, the lady droid is called Aiko Chihira, and it’s being tasked with helping out bewildered shoppers.

Unfortunately, they might leave more confused than they came in. That’s because while Chihira can speak, she can’t actually make conversation or respond to questions.

She’s more of a showpiece, capable of blinking, bowing, and reeling off six minutes of guidance spiel to customers about the department store and ongoing events.

Related: Robot vacuum cleaner review

Chihira’s already appeared in public a number of times, but her department store debut will be the first time she’s offered customer service.

Her persona isn’t actually based on any one person, but is instead designed simply to appear friendly and personable – that’s difficult when you look like you’ve been lifted straight from a Japanese horror flick.

If you’re not keen on listening to Chihira’s pre-loaded audio brief, she’s also pretty good at sign language. Check out her moves in the video below. We think she’s doing the robot…


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