Japan’s ‘Weird’ Robot Hotel

Hen na Hoteru (変なホテル) or literally, weird hotel in English, owned by Huis Ten Bosch is a first of its kind robot hotel in Nagasaki prefecture. It’s completely run by robots! Three robots man the check-in desk. Here guests have the option to use facial recognition to check-in and enter their room or can opt for a check-in card.

reception
変なホテル – Which robot would you check-in with?

After checking-in, guests have the option to store any extra luggage in a secure robot operated vault.

luggage locker
Robot arm – Lets hope it doesn’t malfunction on the day you’re about to leave!

And there’s no need to carry any luggage to your room, thanks to the purpose built luggage transporter robots. The transporter robots are one of two robots manufactured by electronics firm Sharp, especially for Hen na Hotel. What makes the transporter robot intelligent is that it’s equipped with a touch panel display and is able to guide guests and itself automatically to the room.

transporter robo
The transporter robots can transport luggage weighing up to 50kg.

We all know that Japan is big on mascots, so it would only make sense for Huis Ten Bosch to have one as well right? Right! Meet Tyuli Chan (チューリーちゃん), she’s the public face of Huis Ten Bosch chain of hotels.

チューリーちゃん
チューリーちゃん Tyuli Chan –  Is she supposed to be a Tulip?

So once guests have arrived in their room, they will find a robot version of Tyuli Chan (チューリーロボ) waiting for them. This is Sharp’s second purpose built intelligent robot for Hen na Hotel.

チューリーロボ
チューリーロボ

Patiently sitting on the bedside table, Tyuli Robo awaits verbal instructions from guests. Staying quiet won’t stop Tyuli from waking up; she’ll know to be at your service when the sensory room lights are automatically turned on. Personally I feel that her functionality is quiet limited at the moment. She’s capable of simple tasks such as waking guests up when they ask her to, switching the lights on and off as well as acquiring weather information when asked.

チューリーロボ
チューリーロボ

Due to labour shortages in Japan, there is a greater demand for automation. Tech giants like Sharp will  continue to produce and place intelligent robots in the home, work and places of leisure. Those of you who have visited the ‘Land of the Rising Robots’ will have noticed commercial robots like Peppa in shops and banks in Tokyo.

For a brief background on Japan’s history with robots check out my previous article here, where I attempt to explore why the Japanese seem to be more accepting of robots than us living in the West.

3 thoughts on “Japan’s ‘Weird’ Robot Hotel

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:19 am
    Permalink

    This is fascinating. I like your presentation, too. My questions are:
    Why is there a labor shortage in Japan? I thought there were still many people out of work there.

    Reply
  • January 15, 2016 at 9:27 pm
    Permalink

    Hey Emily, thanks for your kind words. WOW I could write a whole blog post on why there is a labour shortage in Japan. But in a nutshell it comes down to an ageing population, couples having fewer children and Japan’s very strict immigration policies…I think the Government prefers humanoids to migrant workers. Japan’s economy has made good recovery since the international ‘credit crunch’ and official statistics show there are more people in work in Japan as opposed to a few years ago. Check this unemployment rate graph for a visual representation. Hope this somewhat answers your question 🙂

    Reply

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