Japanese robot monitors observance of the mask mode

Asking someone to wear a mask is a sensitive topic, which is why a store in Japan hired a robot to make sure shoppers wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sorry to bother you, but please put on a mask,” says a small humanoid robot, driving up to a customer without a mask, in a demo video from the developers.

“Thanks for your understanding,” he says when the customer agrees, bowing to him in gratitude.

The robot, nicknamed “Robovi,” was installed in a sports store in Osaka during an experiment at the ATR Research Institute in Kyoto, which built an electronic clerk.

Its camera and laser scanner detect visitors without masks or when they stand too close together in a line. In this case, the robot asks them to disperse. According to ATR, in addition to providing social distancing, Robovie can direct customers to the part of the store they want to go to.

Japan as a whole has had a relatively small outbreak of coronavirus, although the number of cases is increasing.