[CEATEC 2010] In Japan, there are a lot of service jobs where people help you get around or find something. However, it is something that machines might be able to do in the near future. The Nagoya Institute of Technology Center for Speed and Technology Research has put together a great technology demo that involves this virtual hostess (and other characters too). Using 3D graphics with an “anime” rendering, this computer graphics (CGI) character can answer questions about select topics (like weather) with a surprising realism. The animation is well done and definitely attracts the eye. If the program doesn’t hear you, because it’s noisy, it will say so (“sorry, I can’t hear you”). The project uses several open-source voice recognition libraries, and although the demo wasn’t quite perfect, it’s one of the best that we’ve seen recently. Beyond services, this could also be used for entertainment: another demo was showing a singer/dancer giving performances on request.