Android tour guide deployed at Tokyo mall

Tokyo, Dec 18 (IANS) A shopping mall in Japan’s capital Tokyo has deployed an android that can give tourists sightseeing information in three different languages, a media report said on Friday.

The android resembles a young woman. It went into operation on Thursday at the information desk near the West Gate of the Aqua City Odaiba shopping mall on Tokyo Bay, one of the city’s largest shopping malls, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The robot can explain in English, Chinese, or Japanese about tourist sites selected by a visitor from a touch screen. The screen uses new technology that makes it appear to float in the air. The robot can also gesture and give access information to the tourist sites.

Aqua City officials said this is the world’s first android guide to work around the clock at an information desk.

The android was developed by Japanese tech giant Toshiba. The company said it plans to upgrade the robot in two years with artificial intelligence technology so that it can answer spoken questions.

The new service is part of Tokyo’s effort to prepare for an increase in the number of foreign visitors ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

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