Does grandma need an extra hand shopping these cold winter months, but you’re sadly unable to help? How about receiving the help of a robot? A supermarket in Kyoto, Japan is carrying out live tests of a robotic shopping helper for the elderly and the disabled for the next several months.
Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), the robot’s creator, announced in a press release on Dec. 10th that the robot, named Robovie-II, will be tested at the Apita-Seikadai supermarket in Kyoto through March of 2010. Around 20 elderly testers will have the privilege of seeing how well the Robovie-II interacts with them, as well as how useful the robot actually is.
To use the robot, grandma or grandpa enters a shopping listed via their cell phones before going to the market. Once at the store, Robovie-II, which stands just under four-feet tall, detects users with a sensor and quickly proceeds to casually greet them at the door.
The robot follows the user around, carrying the user’s basket and interacting with them in simple conversation. Much of the conversation centers on the user’s list. “Broccoli goes well with a salad,” the Robovie-II said with its high-pitched robotic-sounding voice, according to Sankei News. “Mandarins oranges are tasty, aren’t they? I want to eat one,” it jested according to 47news.jp. The robot will also make suggestions to the user about items not on the list, such as “Apples are also good this season.”
Source: The Examiner