Two hospitals in Belgium have employed robots to welcome patients and visitors, in what is reportedly the first use of automata to greet people in a medical setting.
The robot, named Pepper, was unveiled Monday at a hospital in the eastern city of Liege, where it will act as a receptionist, Agence France-Presse reports. The cartoon-featured humanoid robot, which costs about 30,000 euros ($33,800), is also being introduced at another facility in Ostend — in northwest Belgium — where it will perform the extra function of guiding visitors to the hospital's appropriate departments.
Pepper the robot is manufactured by Tokyo-based tech firm SoftBank and versions are assembled in France, where they have already been tested out in a few shopping malls.
The robot, described by its makers as "kindly, endearing and surprising," has a tablet computer mounted on its chest. It interacts with humans using cameras and microphones fitted in its head and touch sensors in its head and hands.