One of Japan's megabanks, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, showcased a robot bank teller on 13 April at its down-town Tokyo branch in the hope that the multilingual robot will help foreign customers during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
NAO, the programmable 58cm mini-robot, is equipped with multiple sensors, and responds to customer requests with pre-recorded responses. It currently speaks Japanese, Chinese, and English.
"Currently in a lot of branches there are cases where quite a few customers don't speak Japanese or English and so we can have Nao do an initial check (on their needs) so that it can lead to a trouble-free setting up of an account or other carrying out of other administrative issues," Tadashi Betto, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Chief Manager of eBusiness and IT Initiatives Division, told reporters.
Surrounded by media, NAO performed Tai-chi before a few customers stepped forward and had conversations with the humanoid robot.
"He's quite cute," said one unidentified customer, "So having him around is actually quite good for the soul especially as banks normally tend to be quite quiet."
NAO is produced by French robot maker Aldebaran Robotics. The robotics company also makes telecom giant SoftBank's Pepper.