Robot helps lost shoppers

Next time you're all lost in the supermarket, you can count on Robovie to help you find your way.
200801251027 In a series of demonstrations conducted from January 22 to 24, a souped-up version of ATR’s Robovie humanoid robot monitored people as they passed through a 100 square meter (1,076 sq ft) section of the Universal Citywalk Osaka shopping center. Relying on data from 16 cameras, 6 laser range finders and 9 RFID tag readers installed in and around the area, the robot was able to watch up to 20 people at a time, pinpoint their locations to within a few centimeters, and classify each individual’s behavior into one of 10 categories (waiting, wandering, walking fast, running, etc.).

Whenever Robovie spotted people who looked disoriented, the child-sized droid wheeled up to them and asked, “Are you lost?” If so, the robot provided simple directions to the destination and pointed the way. If not, the robot proceeded to recommend nearby shops and restaurants.



  1. What’d be the legality of loading one of these into a mall department store or casino without their consent? I have heard that casinos intentionally organize the layout of their buildings so that leaving them is difficult, and I highly suspect dept stores of doing same…Would be a hoot to screw with their plans, but I’m guessing trespassing laws would mean your expensive bot would be impounded.

  2. Please let it speak in the voice of the GlaDOS curiousity module. Pleeease.

    “Are you lost? Who are you? What is that? What is that? What is that? Are you coming back?”

  3. As a child I was apeshit for robots, but I think if one approached me while I was lost I might’ve freaked out, not out of direct fear but disorientation on top of disorientation. Maybe what was fantasy for me would be simply comforting and cool for kids today.

  4. I’m wondering if one of the categories of classification was “Lurking”?
    This suggests that the machine monitoring of a CCTV feed for apparently suspicious behaviour is now easily possible.

  5. re: Chaotic

    I’ll be happy if it has a classification for “Stalking”, or, man about to creep up on my mother while she’s preoccupied with trying out shoes.

    I’m so glad that some malls have female only rooms for us to sit down now.

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