It looks like technology has broken through into the frontier of retail stores, as Sugiura Machine Design Office has come up with a female robot mannequin that currently sees action at the Parco Department store in Ikebukuro, Japan. The robot has not been fleshed out ni the same way as a human being, but that might just happen in the future in order to draw us closer to the uncanny valley experience. Each of the individual robot arms will boast 4 degrees of freedom, allowing it to mimic human body language to a certain extent. Just like those machines you see at IKEA that open and close drawers each day the store is open, this robot is no slouch at “work”, operating for more than 10 hours daily, making reliability a major design concern.
The movement routines will change from time to time, and as at press time, there is a trio of body language routines to attract potential customers’ attention from the outside. The robot mannequin’s limbs were designed and printed using a 3D printer, and will be up for display for approximately a month. No idea on what happens after the month is over though – will it be relocated to a different departmental store?
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