Unlike most of the world, the Japanese are generally quick to embrace new technology that makes life easier, so we have high hopes for a new robot from NEC that replaces boring old shop assistants.
The unnamed prototype combines a touch-sensitive screen in its chest with an RFID reader terminal for gathering data from the e-money phones that are popular in Japan.
Touch and go
Customers wishing to pay for something then simply use the screen to specify the kind of e-money their phone holds, after which they pass the handset near the contactless reader to make the transaction.
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NEC says the robot would be perfect for venues that sell tickets, such as fairgrounds or theme parks.
Who are you?
The fact that it has built in a camera and face-recognition software that can determine a user's age suggests it also has an element of customer service in mind.
Pointing adults to the bar and kids to the rollercoaster would then be as easy as ABC - all without the need to pay anyone a salary, of course.