Robotics

NAO lends a robotic hand in banking customer service

NAO lends a robotic hand in ba...
Standing just 58 cm (23 in) high, NAO was given a plinth to put him on eye level with the costumers he greeted (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
Standing just 58 cm (23 in) high, NAO was given a plinth to put him on eye level with the costumers he greeted (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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In between giving advice in Mitsubishi UFJ bank, NAO kept active by doing Tai-Chi (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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In between giving advice in Mitsubishi UFJ bank, NAO kept active by doing Tai-Chi (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
Customers were encouraged to ask questions from a pre-printed list of known words and phrases for NAO (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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Customers were encouraged to ask questions from a pre-printed list of known words and phrases for NAO (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
While giving advice, NAO used a lot hand gestures to make his point (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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While giving advice, NAO used a lot hand gestures to make his point (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
The Aldebaran Atelier, are places where anyone can interact with and experience the Nao and Pepper humanoid robots (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
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The Aldebaran Atelier, are places where anyone can interact with and experience the Nao and Pepper humanoid robots (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
In Tokyo, the Aldebaran Atelier is located in Akihabara (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
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In Tokyo, the Aldebaran Atelier is located in Akihabara (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
The Development space at the Aldebaran Atelier, is to help companies tailor the Robots to their employment requirements (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
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The Development space at the Aldebaran Atelier, is to help companies tailor the Robots to their employment requirements (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
In the Learning area at the Aldebaran Atelier, students can lean and practice their programming skills using Pepper and NAO (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
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In the Learning area at the Aldebaran Atelier, students can lean and practice their programming skills using Pepper and NAO (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
The Discovery area at both the workshop locations, is for the general public to see the Robots in action and to interact with them (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
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The Discovery area at both the workshop locations, is for the general public to see the Robots in action and to interact with them (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
Standing just 58 cm (23 in) high, NAO was given a plinth to put him on eye level with the costumers he greeted (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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Standing just 58 cm (23 in) high, NAO was given a plinth to put him on eye level with the costumers he greeted (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
Pepper, the younger but taller brother of NAO, will follow in NAO`s footsteps and work for another bank from the middle of 2015 (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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Pepper, the younger but taller brother of NAO, will follow in NAO`s footsteps and work for another bank from the middle of 2015 (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
After giving advice and suggestions, NAO said goodbye with a handwave (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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After giving advice and suggestions, NAO said goodbye with a handwave (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
NAO bowed to customers to thank them for coming (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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NAO bowed to customers to thank them for coming (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
NAO worked daily for two weeks at the Tokyo flagship branch of Mitsubishi UFJ bank (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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NAO worked daily for two weeks at the Tokyo flagship branch of Mitsubishi UFJ bank (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
In 2014, Pepper, NAO`s younger brother, started to work for Soft Bank as a receptionist (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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In 2014, Pepper, NAO`s younger brother, started to work for Soft Bank as a receptionist (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
NAO is 58cm tall talking humanoid robot (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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NAO is 58cm tall talking humanoid robot (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
Giving advice and information is accompanied with expressive arm and hand and head movements (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
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Giving advice and information is accompanied with expressive arm and hand and head movements (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)

In Japan, humanoid robots are seen as an important part of the solution to the looming double problem of a shortage of labor and an aging society. The first challenge is for robots to be seen as a normal part of society by helping out with everyday tasks, which is why Aldebaran Robotics' diminutive NAO robot recently undertook a two week internship at the main Mitsubishi UFJ bank in central Tokyo. Gizmag called in to see how NAO was doing.

NAO was created in 2006 and most recently came to our attention when helping kids learn to write in Switzerland. During the two week internship in Tokyo, NAO helped customers with questions or queries they had, in Chinese and English as well as Japanese. This assignment follows in the humanoid footsteps of Honda's ASIMO and NAO's younger and taller brother, Pepper, who still works as a receptionist.

NAO is 58cm tall talking humanoid robot (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)
NAO is 58cm tall talking humanoid robot (Photo: Stephen Clemenger/Gizmag.com)

Standing just 58 cm (23 in) high, NAO was given a plinth to put him on eye level with the costumers he greeted. The robot's main language was Japanese, but after some verbal instructions and controller input, he was able to speak to us in fairly eloquent English, asking "How can I help you?" and following up with "Do you want to open a new account?" or "Do you want to find a ATM?" ... accompanied by some judicious hand and arm moments.

The interaction was very basic. Customers were required to ask questions from a pre-printed list of known words and phrases, answers to NAO's questions were restricted to either "yes" or "no" and the robot's listening ability in English was a little poor. These interactions will no doubt become more sophisticated as time goes on, and as a PR representative NAO definitely seemed to be earning its stripes, impressing onlookers with Tai-Chi moves when not engaged in conversation.

The Aldebaran Atelier, are places where anyone can interact with and experience the Nao and Pepper humanoid robots (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)
The Aldebaran Atelier, are places where anyone can interact with and experience the Nao and Pepper humanoid robots (Image: Albebaran Robotics.com)

Aldebaran sees open source programming as the key to the employment flexibility of NAO and Pepper. This allows any owner or company to customize their robot to their exact requirements and to showcase this potential, the company Robotics now has two permanent workshops, one in Paris and the other one in the Akihabara, Tokyo. Called Aldebaran Atelier, these are places where anyone from students to businesses to the general public, can interact with and experience NAO and Pepper.

In July, NAO will be joined by Pepper in the banking business, when the latter starts work at Japan’s Mizuho Bank.

Source: Aldebaran Robotics

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