Japanese hotel staffed by ROBOTS features motion-sensing dinosaurs

Japanese hotel staffed by ROBOTS features motion-sensing dinosaurs

Japanese hotel staffed by ROBOTS features motion-sensing dinosaurs that greet you at reception and egg-shaped machines that sing you to sleep

By Tim Collins For Mailonline and Afp 13:02 EDT 04 Sep 2018, updated 13:02 EDT 04 Sep 2018

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• The Henn na chain – whose name means ‘weird’ – bills itself as offering the world’s first hotels with robot staff 

• It operates sites south of Nagasaki and east of Tokyo where the receptions are staffed by robot dinosaurs   

• At the Tokyo hotel each room is staffed with mini-robots that look a bit like spherical Star Wars droid BB-8

• They colourful egg-shaped machines help guests with everything from changing channels to playing music 

• Even some of the garbage cans are automated and the fish swimming in the lobby run on batteries

Robots are no strangers to the Japanese, but the sight of a motion-sensing dinosaur greeting you at the reception of a hotel is likely to startle even the most ardent automaton aficionado.

It might be one the weirdest check-in experiences possible, but that’s exactly the point at the Henn na chain – whose name means ‘weird’ – which bills itself as offering the world’s first hotels with mechanical staff.

The first Henn na Hotel opened in Nagasaki in 2015, and was certified the following year by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on its staff.

The travel agency group that operates the chain now runs eight hotels across the country, all with robots on the staff, some of them dinosaurs, but others taking a more humanoid shape.

Scroll down for video 

<img id=”i-4c3013cd4e2dd69b” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/09/04/15/4FAF663600000578-0-image-a-3_1536071828046.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”Robots are no strangers to the Japanese, but the sight of a motion-sensing dinosaur (pictured) greeting you at the reception of a hotel is likely to startle even the most ardent automaton aficionado. It might be about the weirdest check-in experience possible, but that’s exactly the point at the Henn na chain – whose name means ‘weird'” />

Robots are no strangers to the Japanese, but the sight of a motion-sensing dinosaur (pictured) greeting you at the reception of a hotel is likely to startle even the most ardent automaton aficionado. It might be about the weirdest check-in experience possible, but that’s exactly the point at the Henn na chain – whose name means ‘weird’

The reception at the Hotel Maihama, the Henn na Hotel east of Tokyo, is eerily quiet until customers approach the robot dinosaurs manning the front desk. Their sensors detect the motion and they bellow ‘Welcome.’

The front desk staff are a pair of giant dinosaurs that look like cast members of the Jurassic Park movies, except for the tiny bellboy hats perched on their heads.

The robo-dinos process check-ins through a tablet system that also allows customers to choose which language – Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean – they want to use to communicate with the multilingual robots.

The effect is bizarre, according to guests who have experienced it first hand, with the large dinosaurs gesticulating with their long arms and issuing tinny set phrases.

Yukio Nagai, manager at the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay, even admits some customers find it slightly unnerving.

‘We haven’t quite figured out when exactly the guests want to be served by people, and when it’s okay to be served by robots,’ he told AFP.

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Robotel: Japanese hotel staffed by robots and dinosaurs

<img id=”i-d8f385502a3d93ee” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/09/04/15/4FAF654B00000578-0-image-a-9_1536072427441.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”The first Henn na Hotel opened in Nagasaki in 2015, and was certified the following year by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on its staff. A model of a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur, right, and a robotic garbage can stand in the lobby of the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay” />

The first Henn na Hotel opened in Nagasaki in 2015, and was certified the following year by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on its staff. A model of a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur, right, and a robotic garbage can stand in the lobby of the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay

<img id=”i-af5a6089a82a9222″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/09/04/15/4FAF654200000578-0-image-a-11_1536072637285.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”The travel agency group that operates the chain now runs eight hotels across the country, all with robots on the staff, some of them dinosaurs, but others taking a more humanoid shape. A robotic garbage can stands in the lobby of the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay” />

The travel agency group that operates the chain now runs eight hotels across the country, all with robots on the staff, some of them dinosaurs, but others taking a more humanoid shape. A robotic garbage can stands in the lobby of the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay

For other guests the novelty is the charm. Each room is staffed with mini-robots – called Tapia concierge robots – that look a bit like spherical Star Wars droid BB-8, and help guests with everything from changing channels to playing music.

Even the fish swimming in the lobby run on batteries, with electric lights in their articulated bodies flickering on and off as they work their way around giant tanks, and garbage cans are automated.

‘The dinosaurs looked intriguing, and I thought my son would love it,’ said Chigusa Hosoi, who recently stayed at the hotel with her three-year-old.

‘My son is really happy. There’s an egg-shaped robot inside the room. He was playing with it a lot.’

Some human staff are also on call to intervene in case of glitches, which customer reviews online suggest are a not infrequent problem at check-in.

<img id=”i-e2b9bb2506c496e0″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/09/04/17/4FAF65B200000578-6130711-For_shelp_guests_with_everything_from_changing_channels_to_playi-a-19_1536080230739.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”For shelp guests with everything from changing channels to playing music.” />

For shelp guests with everything from changing channels to playing music.

<img id=”i-2c40919676f5ceff” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/09/04/17/4FAF65C200000578-6130711-_The_dinosaurs_looked_intriguing_and_I_thought_my_son_would_love-a-20_1536080230908.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”‘The dinosaurs looked intriguing, and I thought my son would love it,’ said Chigusa Hosoi, who recently stayed at the hotel with her three-year-old. ‘My son is really happy. There’s an egg-shaped robot inside the room. He was playing with it a lot'” />

‘The dinosaurs looked intriguing, and I thought my son would love it,’ said Chigusa Hosoi, who recently stayed at the hotel with her three-year-old. ‘My son is really happy. There’s an egg-shaped robot inside the room. He was playing with it a lot’

WILL YOUR JOB BE TAKEN BY A ROBOT?

A report in November 2017 suggested that physical jobs in predictable environments, including machine-operators and fast-food workers, are the most likely to be replaced by robots.

Management consultancy firm McKinsey, based in New York, focused on the amount of jobs that would be lost to automation, and what professions were most at risk.

The report said collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines.

This could displace large amounts of labour – for instance, in mortgages, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.

Conversely, jobs in unpredictable environments are least are risk.

The report added: ‘Occupations such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and eldercare – will also generally see less automation by 2030, because they are technically difficult to automate and often command relatively lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.’

However, Mr Nagai says relying on robots for everything from front desk duty to cleaning had proved an efficient choice in a country with a shrinking labour market.

‘It’s becoming difficult to secure enough labour at hotels’, he added. ‘To solve that problem, we have robots serving guests.’

The hotel opened in March 2017 as is partner to another robotic staffed hotel which is part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and opened in 2015.

The £45-a-night ($80) hotel goes beyond using robots as a gimmick and was among the first to use facial recognition technology instead of swipe cards as room keys.

<img id=”i-a2a16a2c49472c50″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/11/2A8CC66E00000578-3163631-image-a-38_1437041480575.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”672″ alt=”The hotel opened in March 2017 as is partner to another robotic staffed hotel which is part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and opened in 2015. A receptionist dinosaur robot performs at the Nagasaki hotel” />

The hotel opened in March 2017 as is partner to another robotic staffed hotel which is part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and opened in 2015. A receptionist dinosaur robot performs at the Nagasaki hotel

<img id=”i-8fd5f1f2cd06606a” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/11/2A8CCFBF00000578-3163631-image-a-40_1437041484442.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”586″ alt=”The £45-a-night ($80) hotel goes beyond using robots as a gimmick and was among the first to use facial recognition technology instead of swipe cards as room keys. A receptionist robot, top center, accompanied by two other robots, greets a hotel employee demonstrating how to check in ” />

The £45-a-night ($80) hotel goes beyond using robots as a gimmick and was among the first to use facial recognition technology instead of swipe cards as room keys. A receptionist robot, top center, accompanied by two other robots, greets a hotel employee demonstrating how to check in 

<img id=”i-52198542e253aa10″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/11/2A8CFF6C00000578-3163631-image-a-43_1437041496459.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”633″ alt=”Each guest room has a small robot with a Siri-like ability to answer questions about the current time or weather, and turn lights on and off” />

Each guest room has a small robot with a Siri-like ability to answer questions about the current time or weather, and turn lights on and off

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, told the Associated Press at the time that the use of robots was a serious effort to utilise technology and improve efficiency while saving on labour costs.

He said he hoped the robots would carry out 90 per cent of tasks normally completed by humans.

At the Henn na Hotel in Sasebo, the dinosaur wears a hat and bowtie, telling visitors: ‘If you want to check in, push one.’

The guest then punches a button and enters his or her personal information on a touch panel screen and before heading up to their room guests can store items in a ‘robot cloak room’.

<img id=”i-9de782112d010462″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/11/2A8CD18D00000578-3163631-image-a-45_1437041519222.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”633″ alt=”Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, told the Associated Press at the time that the use of robots was a serious effort to utilise technology and improve efficiency while saving on labour costs. At the front desk, robots ask guests to punch a button to check in and then enter their personal information on a touchscreen” />

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel, told the Associated Press at the time that the use of robots was a serious effort to utilise technology and improve efficiency while saving on labour costs. At the front desk, robots ask guests to punch a button to check in and then enter their personal information on a touchscreen

<img id=”i-a0503dccbfbb2915″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/11/2A8CD4B200000578-3163631-image-a-46_1437041523561.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”Mr Sawada said he hoped the robots would carry out 90 per cent of tasks normally completed by humans. At reception, the dinosaur wears a hat and bowtie, telling visitors: ‘If you want to check in, push one'” />

Mr Sawada said he hoped the robots would carry out 90 per cent of tasks normally completed by humans. At reception, the dinosaur wears a hat and bowtie, telling visitors: ‘If you want to check in, push one’

<img id=”i-bc86b0202068b0d3″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/12/2A8E797400000578-3163631-image-a-53_1437044874719.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”646″ alt=”There is no need for guests to haul heavy bags to their rooms, as an automated trolley takes care of the luggage. Here a porter robot, left, escorts a hotel employee while carrying his suitcase during a demonstration for the media” />

There is no need for guests to haul heavy bags to their rooms, as an automated trolley takes care of the luggage. Here a porter robot, left, escorts a hotel employee while carrying his suitcase during a demonstration for the media

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, which has a small robot with a Siri-like ability to answer questions about the current time or weather.

While the concierge – a doll-like hairless robot with voice recognition – can provide details on breakfast, it cannot call a cab or match the capabilities of its human counterparts.

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.

<img id=”i-4a5bad23329318e” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/12/2A8D15CC00000578-3163631-image-a-54_1437044891082.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”569″ alt=”Those who want secure storage for some of their items can have them placed into a locker by a gigantic robotic arm. After guests drop items into a box, the giant robotic arm snatches it and then puts it into an open space in a wall where the boxes are stacked” />

Those who want secure storage for some of their items can have them placed into a locker by a gigantic robotic arm. After guests drop items into a box, the giant robotic arm snatches it and then puts it into an open space in a wall where the boxes are stacked

<img id=”i-3fa2f1cfa04d2140″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/07/16/12/2A8D1DBF00000578-3163631-image-a-57_1437044896680.jpg&#8221; width=”962″ height=”641″ alt=”Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel as part of an amusement park, told reporters when the hotel that the use of robots is not a gimmick. Mr Sawada (pictured) is president of the Huis Ten Bosch Company” />

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel as part of an amusement park, told reporters when the hotel that the use of robots is not a gimmick. Mr Sawada (pictured) is president of the Huis Ten Bosch Company

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