Robots to staff a self-titled 'Strange Hotel' in Japan
These aren't your typical bell boys.
A hotel in Japan, opening this July, claims that it will eventually be staffed almost entirely by humanoid robots. Fittingly, the hotel's name — Henn-Na Hotel — translates to "Strange Hotel."
Henn-Na will be housed on the grounds of Huis Ten Bosch, a Japanese theme park, and will initially feature three "actoids" (robots designed in the human likeness) to work as receptionists, according to CNN. Eventually, the owners hope that 90% of the staff will be robots.
The robots will do an array of tasks, like conversing with guests at check-in — while exuding a natural "warmth" — as well as cleaning
The robots will do an array of tasks, like conversing with guests at check-in — while exuding a natural "warmth" — as well as cleaning, according to the hotel's website. There will also be human staff on hand to assist.
The hotel's high-tech features don't end with robots. There will also be a facial-recognition system to enter hotel rooms as a way to replace traditional keys.
It's already possible to make a "tentative reservation" on the website, with projected room prices ranging from 9,000 yen (about $77) for a single bed to 44,000 yen ($374) for the highest-value room.
Human-like robots — depending on what you define as "human-like" — aren't just found in science fiction movies anymore, so a robot-staffed hotel isn't as out-there as it may seem. In fact, retail chain Lowe's unveiled an in-store robot clerk called OSHbot last year. It's a 5-feet-tall machine that can help consumers on the floor of retail hardware stores.
There's also ChihiraAico, which Toshiba showed off at the International CES this year, a machine designed to "achieve real heart-warming communication with human-like facial expression."
Let's just hope ChihiraAico, OSHbot and the Strange Hotel robots don't put too many concierges out of work.