Innovation Technology

Glimpse of the future: Hotel where the front desk is staffed by ROBOTS and guests scan their faces to enter rooms

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A creepy-looking dinosaur, a lifelike female humanoid with blinking lashes, and a small android greet guests at this innovative Japanese hotel where almost all employees are robots.

The Weird Hotel is set to open to the public on July 17th. The $80 a night hotel is not only staffed by robots, but also is among the first to use facial recognition technology instead of swipe cards as room keys.

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, told the Associated Press the use of robots is not a gimmick, but a serious effort to utilize technology and improve efficiency while saving on labor costs. He hopes the robots will carry out 90% of the tasks normally completed by humans. At the Henn na Hotel, as it is called in Japanese, the dinosaur wears a hat and bowtie, telling visitors, “If you want to check in, push one.”

Guests punch a button and enter their personal information on a touch panel screen. Before heading up to their room guests can store items in a “robot cloak room”.

After guests drop items into a box, a giant robotic arm snatches it and then puts it into an open space in a wall where the boxes are stacked. A guest can do this while an automated trolley delivers luggage to their room Each guest room is equipped with a small robot concierge with a Siri-like ability to answer questions about the current time or weather, or provide details on breakfast. The temperature of the rooms is monitored with technology that detects body heat and guests can call for robotic room service using a tablet instead of a phone.

Two things the robots cannot do is take care of security, make the beds, or hail a cab. But there are plans to use a robot to deliver room service.

Mr. Sawada is anxious to open another robot-staffed hotel in Japan and abroad.

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