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Fourth echelon

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Tokyo department store hires realistic robot receptionist

TOKYO, April 20 (UPI) -- A Japanese department store introduced the public to its new receptionist -- a lifelike robot programmed to help customers find their way around the store.

The Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store in Tokyo said the robot, dubbed Aiko Chihira, will serve as a receptionist on the seventh floor of the store from Monday until May 5.

The robot, created by Toshiba in collaboration with Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, uses pre-programmed scripts to give directions to customers and contains 43 motors to allow her to gesture, blink, move her lips, create facial expressions and make other movements while speaking.

Store officials said they hope the robot will draw in customers.



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