Visitors to sports arenas usually don't expect to be greeted by robots - unless we count the stewards at some Premiership grounds. But that's exactly what baseball fans in Japan have been getting this weekend.

The setting was the Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka, home of the Softbank Hawks baseball franchise and neighbour to gadget specialist TMSUK, which was behind the experiment.

Easy introduction

Visitors arriving at the nearby train station were met by a selection of TMSUK robots in a bid to see how people, particularly families with children, reacted to their metal marshals.

While there were no commercially available robots in action, TMSUK's policy of introducing automata in familiar settings appeared to make a favourable impression on fans, particularly the Softbank Hawks-supporting RIDC-01 machine. First step baseball fans, next step world domination.