In Japan The Future Is Already Here

In the last few years Japan has truly become the 'land of rising robots' for many people in most other countries this seems like a long-dreamed fantasy, however in Japan robots are becoming an ever more frequent presence throughout society.

You'd think a robot is a robot, however there are many variations to Japanese robotics including:

  • Entertainment Robots
  • Humanoid Robots
  • Android Robots
  • Astronaut Robots
  • Industrial Robots
  • Animal Robots
  • Domestic Robots
  • Mobility Robots
  • Rescue Robots
  • Social Robots
  • Guard Robots

Humanoid Humanoid Robot Courtesy: SBS Australia

The Robotics industry in Japan employs over a quarter of a million industrial robot workers, with the estimate jumping to over million by 2025 with revenue generated from the industry set to achieve close to $70 billion.

For tourists looking to experience the future - now, the Henn-na Hotel, which translates as 'strange hotel' is a must for visitors to Japan. The hotel is staffed by 80 robots, with just 10 people who operate 'behind the scenes' to perform cleaning (robots can't make beds, yet) and security duties.

The hotel is situated on the grounds of Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park ironically enough designed to bring The Netherlands to Japan with recreations of Dutch buildings and towns.

Humanoid-Robot-Japan-Hotel-Checkin Source/Credit AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Guests on arrival at the hotel are greeted by front desk personnel like they have never experienced before. The facial expressions of the 'female' robot mimics that of a human, by imitating the gestures, facial experessions and physical movements of a 'genuine human'.

Robot-Reception-Hotel-Checkin Source/Credit AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Not amazing enough, then move a little further along the reception desk to interact directly with an English speaking robot from a Jurassic Park movie, complete with pill box hat. Once checked in, a robot porter will collect your bags and escort you to your hotel room.

Henn-Na-Hotel-Robot Source/Credit AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

On arrival at your hotel room door there's no need for a key as facial recognition is used to identify you as the occupant of the room.

Hotel-Robot-Luggage Source/Credit AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Once inside, the room air conditioner will keep you comfortable by responding to your body temperature. Many of the room's other facilities are controlled using the supplied in-room tablet.

Should you be in need of anything at all, the robot Concierge named Tuly, can provide you with information including the weather, set an alarm for you and control the room lighting. The hotel plans to add to the flavor by incorporating drones to fly room service snacks to your room in future.

Currently, there are 144 rooms available at the hotel which most would expect to pay a considerable amount of money to experience the 'future'. However, room rates start at 7,000 Yen or USD$63 per night making it an affordable vacation experience for anyone planning a visit to Japan.

Sandra Hawkins

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