Nao robot
Nao robot can speak 19 languages and read emotions of customersAldebaran Robotics

He may only be 58cm tall and weigh less than 6kg, but the newest employee of Japan's largest bank can speak 19 languages, analyse customer emotions - and is a robot.

Developed by French company Aldebaran Robotics, a subsidiary of Japanese telecoms and web giant SoftBank, the robot is called Nao and will begin work on a trial basis at select branches of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in April.

Nao has cameras in his face to analyse customers' emotions from their facial expressions, and microphones to judge their mood by tone of voice; he can greet customers in 19 different languages and ask which service they need.

"Hello and welcome," the robot said to an English-speaking customer during a presentation in Tokyo in early February, the Guardian reports. "I can tell you about money exchange ATMs, opening a bank account, or overseas remittance. Which one would you like?"

Nao's employment comes after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe called for the country to invest in "non-human resources" and create a "robot revolution" to boost economic growth.

Another member of the autonomous workforce is Pepper, a robot which will be used by Nestle Japan to sell coffee machines in up to 1,000 outlets by the end of 2015.

Pepper is 120cm tall and already does shifts as a shop assistant at SoftBank mobile phone stores in Tokyo. It's hoped these droids will represent a "baby step on our dream to make a robot that can understand a person's feelings, and then autonomously take action," SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son said, reports TechInAsia.

In January, the Huis ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki said its upcoming Henn na Hotel will use a fleet of robots to recognise staff and guests, and open rooms without the need for a key. Droids will also be used as porters, room cleaners and front desk staff to create "the most efficient hotel in the world."