Takashimiya, a department store in Japan, has worked hand in hand with Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University to develop a new way to pull shoppers through their doors. This is achieved by installing a new visual merchandising concept that relies on a lifelike android mannequin to draw the attention of shoppers. A literal showstopper, the female android mannequin functions as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion, where “she” is capable of nodding to indicate your presence, yawn from time to time, and interact with passersby.

One of Dr. Ishiguro’s most famous works would be his Geminoid android robots that he has worked on for a number of years, and they do have an uncanny resemblance to an actual human being. To see the Geminoid android robots in action at Takashimiya, however, marks the maiden outing for such androids in a commercial setting. Dr. Ishiguro feels that such android mannequins will be the future of shop displays, instead of static, traditional mannequins. It might startle more than one shopper though, especially those who have yet to be exposed to such wonders. Hopefully there is a defibrillator somewhere nearby just in case the shock is too much for one’s heart to handle.

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