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ENON Delivers Targeted Marketing in Restaurants

Fujitsu’s office robot ENON tried out a new role, this time as a robotic advertising machine.  Eager Co. Ltd. (the same company that markets a cardboard mannequin robot) wants to know what effect robot advertising can have.  So in cooperation with Osaka University’s Arai & Ishiguro Labs, they’re testing out a targeted marketing campaign over the course of 3 days (9~11) at some of Breeze Breeze’s 18 restaurants in Osaka.  Earlier, Eager worked with Ishiguro Lab on a robot play which determined that a robot’s hand gestures play an important role in communication – gestures that will also be used while the robot delivers its marketing pitch.

Fujitsu Frontech’s ENON is equipped with Omron’s OKAO Vision, face recognition software that can classify a person’s tastes based on their age group.  The software determines a person’s gender and general age (“under 20″, “20~30″, “40~50″, or “60 and up”) and displays age-appropriate advertisements on the robot’s touch-screen.  In addition, ENON will use a combination of sound and hand gestures to grab your attention.  The robot will work in a 3m x 4m area and will perform three 15-minute performances per hour, three hours per day.  For safety reasons, the robot is programmed to stop immediately if the area becomes crowded and people get too close to the robot’s flailing limbs.

Although Fujitsu presented a streamlined version of ENON stripped of its arms at IREX 2009, it appears they may be useful even if they’re not used to hold anything.  This latest experiment, along with Mitsubishi’s revised plans for its Wakamaru robot, show that simple humanoid robots can be powerful public attractions when paired with sophisticated image processing software and entertaining motion routines.  In South Korea, several companies have already developed robots specifically for entertaining customers while they wait in the lobby of busy restaurants.

[source: Robonable (JP)]

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