Japan is like the planet's womb for robots, pioneering their development for decades. Now it's given robots a new level of responsibility with its robot hotel run almost completely by machines.
The Henn-na Hotel will open in July, feature 72 rooms, and be staffed by 10 humanoid robots. "Henn" means "change" or "strange" in Japanese.
The reception staff will be developed by robotics company Kokoro which specialises in "actroid" bots, which are made to seem human. Not only will these robotic receptionists appear like Japanese women but they are able to mimic human behaviours too like breathing and blinking. They will speak Japanese, Chinese Korean and English – engaging with people based on eye contact, body language and tone.
The company president Hideo Sawada said that he hopes to soon have robots performing 90 per cent of hotel services. The robot staff will be supplemented by humans initially. But the tech doesn't stop at robots.
Guests won't need keys to access their rooms as locks work via facial recognition. And rather than the usual number based temperature controls there will be a radiation panel that detects body heat and adjusts the room to keep the guest comfortable. And any food orders or assistance while in-room can be accessed via the room's tablet.
Rooms will start at around £40 per night from 17 July.