Japan is obsessed with machines that have arms, legs, and heads and say ‘hello.’ Robots are everywhere in Japan. They greet visitors at corporate offices, peer from newsstand magazine covers, and attempt to lure prospective students on university-recruiting weekends. Kokoro, a Sanrio Group company focusing on the design and manufacture of robots, uncovered its latest Actroid DER2 feminine guide robot at Sanrio headquarters in Tokyo on October 4. It is an improvised version of Kokoro’s previous fembot- Actroid DER who has gain popularity for herself by providing services at a number of events, including the 2005 World Expo. Compared to the previous model, DER2 has thinner arms and a wider repertoire of expressions.
The smoothness of her movement has also been improved, making it now even more likely for the uninitiated to confuse her with an actual human being. Once programmed, she is able to choreograph her motions and gestures with her voice. A number of sensors and motors allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner. Kokoro plans to rent Actroid DER2 to companies and events for a rental fee of $3,500 (400,000 yen) for 5 days, plus extra fees for technical support, delivery, and choreography changes.