A new Japanese hotel, the Henn-na, will be staffed by humanoid robots that will check guests in and even clean rooms. It’s scheduled to open on July 17th this year, and is located in the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan.
Robot staff to replace humans
If you’ve ever seen the movie Bladerunner or Westworld, you’ll have thought about the dystopian future where humanoid robots are virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts. While the Japanese hotel robots aren’t expected to be quite that advanced (or attractive), they will be able to perform a multitude of tasks, and it’s certainly the first time that we’ve heard of robots being used in the hotel industry for anything more than a gimmick.
The 72-room hotel will cost around $60 a night and offers a range of rooms, according to CNN, and they will perform a range of services such as greeting guests, completing the check-in process, carrying bags to a guest’s room and general housekeeping duties. The mockup below is supposed to indicate what they robots will look like…
Robots make eye contact
Apparently, the robots will be able to analyse and respond to the guests’ body language and make eye contact, as well as being able to speak English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. The robot faces can also mimic humans by blinking, simulating breathing and adjusting the tone of their voice, based on the tone of the guests’ voices. I wonder what else they can do?!
There will be 10 robots at the hotel, but in fact they’ll also be helped by a small team of ‘regular’ humans. The boss of the company, Hideo Sawada, said “In the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots…We will make the most efficient hotel in the world”, and that robot staff will cut down on labor costs and reduce employee absences.
Besides the robo-staff, there are also lots of other hi-tech gadgets and features in each room. For example, guests will be able to gain access to their room using facial recognition technology rather than carrying a keycard around. Tablets are also available in each room so that guests can request amenities, which should be simpler than using the awkward TV menus or making phone calls. And finally the temperature in the rooms can be adjusted by a panel that detects body heat.
“Please send robot number 9 to my room, and make sure she’s wearing lingerie”.
Is this the start of a new era in human-like androids in the service industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…