Robotic Retail Display
Tokyo department store Takashimaya is supporting the rise of a new race of robotic mannequins by featuring an android girl in its Valentine’s day window. The eerily realistic female mannequin – designed by Dr Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University – mimics human behaviour, making shoppers stop and stare while they work out whether or not it is flesh and blood.
The android is capable of over sixty facial expressions, including nodding, smiling and even yawning. She is also fitted with Microsoft Kinnect motion-sensing software that enables her to react to the movements of passers-by. The retailer hopes that this level of interaction, along with the mannequin’s lifelike appearance and mannerisms, will create a direct emotional connection with customers and intrigue them enough to enter the store and find out more about the products she is promoting.
Dr Ishiguro says he sees the use of robots becoming increasingly popular in visual merchandising, replacing static traditional mannequins to offer more realism.