[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to Post”]
Tokyo Olympic organisers on Friday rolled out a pair of chatty robots they will put to work to assist wheelchair users at the 2020 Games as they continue to plug Japan's cutting-edge technology.
Billed as distant relations to beeping Star Wars drone R2D2, Toyota unveiled its human support (HSR) and delivery support robots (DSR), which are set to act as seat ushers and will fetch food and drinks for disabled fans at next year's Olympics.
In an Olympic first, the waist-high, robotic 'volunteers' will breezily introduce themselves to customers, who can then place orders on a tablet.
'Hello, everyone. I'm a lifestyle support robot,' the fully rotating HSR said in a demonstration.
'I'll fetch things for you. I also have an extendable arm that can pick things up if you drop them,' it added.
In reality, the DSR 'deli-bot' -- with its built-in drinks tray -- rather more closely resembles a moving dustbin with blinking lights, but Toyota insisted the technology would ensure a more comfortable Games experience for wheelchair users.
'It will be much easier and more convenient to interact with robots,' Minoru Yamauchi, general manager of the 2020 robot development department, told AFP.
'In the run-up to the Olympics we will work on other useful functions that they can carry out.'
Toyota are currently planning to deploy 16 units of each droid at the 2020 Olympics.