July 31, 2021


World News

No more anti-maskers! Japanese robot controls compliance with COVID restrictions in Osaka store

Robovie is an intelligent robot that’s been deployed at a store in Osaka to support the day-to-day running of the store and enforce social distancing and mask-wearing rules among customers.

As seen on Thursday at the Cerezo Osaka football club megastore, Robovie can spot if someone is not wearing a mask and talks to them.

“If a customer forgets to wear a mask, it can approach and ask for cooperation by saying, ‘Please wear a mask’, or if the distance between the customers in the line is too short, it can approach and tell them, ‘Please leave a little more space.'” explained Satoru Satake, a researcher from the Kioto-based company that developed Robovie, called Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International.

Robovie can also help support members of staff in the running of the business by not only taking questions from customers but also guiding them to store stock.

“The robot remembers the information on the products in this store, when asked, it will point a finger at where the product is stored,” Satake said. To perform its functions, the robot uses a camera and a set of sensors, getting by around the shop with the help of motorised wheels.

The robot is currently working through its duties as part of a month-long trial agreed with Cerezo Osaka, one of Japan’s biggest football clubs. Japan has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in November, reaching 155,928 cases and 2,174 COVID-19 related deaths as of Thursday. ore