Humanoid bots at hotel guests' service

Hitachi's humanoid "Emiew" robots got some on-the-job training this week that could prove helpful should the bots settle on a career in hospitality. The little guys showed off their mobility, voice recognition and speech skills by greeting guests at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay hotel as part of a weeklong publicity campaign by the Sheraton and Hitachi.

Emiew robots

Hitachi unveiled the self-balancing Emiew last year, calling it the fastest robot yet. The 4.2-foot sensor-loaded bot uses wheels instead of feet to move at a spritely 3.7 mph. It avoids obstacles and chats with human counterparts using a vocabulary of about 100 words.

Competing humanoid bots trying to muscle in on Emiew's space include Honda's Asimo and Sony's Qrio.

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