The iMaro Information Service Robot was co-developed by Samsung and Dasatech as part of South Korea’s plans to replace human workers with cold steel, although you probably wouldn’t have guessed it from iMaro’s perpetually bright, friendly smile as it greets you at Seoul’s International Airport. Rolling on wheels with keen obstacle detection, iMaro darts around the building looking for people to approach with its polite, yet strangely forceful invitations to touch its shoulder.
Once you’ve touched iMaro’s pressure-sensitive collar area, it remains still so that you can interact with the LCD touch-screen implanted in its chest. Check arrival and departure times, or look at a map to help you find the correct terminal. iMaro will even wait patiently at your convenience while you take a snapshot of yourself with it (a feature that proved quite popular by tourists).
Thankfully Samsung didn’t go the extra mile and attach arms to iMaro, all the better for prodding you with from behind when you least expect it. The moral of the story is: don’t be alarmed when traveling abroad if a robotic information booth follows you around, calling out to you in short bursts of Korean and English, before scurrying off to find its next victim.