You're lost in a foreign country and you don't speak the language. A tiny robot rolls over to you, staring up with friendly little eyes. "Where is the tourist center?" you say, into its face. "This way, please," it responds, pointing you to your destination.
What a goddamn time to be alive.
Hitachi recently unveiled the latest iteration of its humanoid robot, equipped with the brains, mobility and cuteness necessary to provide customer service to humans.
The robot, EMIEW3 (really rolls off the tongue), is designed to autonomously approach and offer assistance to customers in stores and public facilities.
Hitachi sees industrial facilities, office buildings, hospitals, event venues, airports, financial institutions and train stations as potential locations for this robot's services, according to a chart in a news release.
The robot may be put on the market in 2018, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
The brains: Hitachi's EMIEW3 has a "remote brain" that allows it to identify voices, images and language in its surroundings. Since Hitachi sees this robot as a customer service agent, EMIEW3 can process and translate the sounds with background street noise, making it functional in bustling environments.
Unlike its predecessor — which had some trouble avoiding collisions with furniture — EMIEW3 boasts artificial intelligence so that it will more appropriately respond to human dialogue (think: more Siri than SmarterChild) and more gracefully avoid smashing into shit.
The bod: What's red and white and cute all over? Hitachi nailed it with approachable design — meaning, if this robot snuck up from behind to see if I needed anything, I wouldn't be taken aback in horror.
EMIEW3 stands at 90 centimeters, or just shy of 3 feet, and weighs in at 15 kilograms, or about 33 pounds. It's light enough for an adult person to hoist up. It can move at a pace of 6 kilometers per hour, so it can keep up with you at what Hitachi dubs "a brisk human walking pace," but it's not quick enough to beat you in a footrace.
The robot is also embedded with a new ability: If knocked over, it can resume a standing position on its own.
The beating heart: Hitachi's EMIEW3 has a beating LED heart on its chest, Mashable reported. This is a purely cosmetic addition; it serves no purpose beyond simulating sentience. Fake it till you make it, robot.