Asia Business Channel

Japan debuts robots at hotels for virus patients

A humanoid robot Pepper wearing a facemask greets Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike in the lobby of a hotel for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms in Tokyo / Photo by Eugene Hoshiko

Robot staff debuted at a Tokyo hotel used for mildly sick coronavirus patients under a new plan to free up beds at hospitals overburdened with more severe cases.

Pepper, a talking robot, greets new guests at the lobby, while Whiz, a cleaning robot, operates in areas where patients pick up meals and other daily necessities to reduce infection risks for human staff.

Pepper, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike as she walked into the hotel during a recent demonstration and Pepper also reminded patients to check their temperature and rest well.


A Pepper humanoid robot, and Whiz, cleaning robost are seen at a hotel that has been designated to accommodate quarantine patients –
specifically those who are asymptomatic or with light symptoms so that hospital beds can be used for critically ill patients / Photo by Issei
Kato, Reuters

Guests in the quarantine hotels also have the ability to access health management applications on computers and tablets to record their temperatures and symptoms.

The robots, made by SoftBank Robotics, will also be deployed at other hotels rented by Tokyo’s metropolitan government for patients with no current symptoms or those people with mild symptoms. The Tokyo has secured five hotels with approximately 1,500 rooms and is planning to increase the number of hotels participating in the quarantine program so that a minimum of 2,800 rooms available.

The Tokyo hotels are staffed by doctors and nurses, however officials hope that the “medical” robots can cheer up an otherwise lonely time for guests who are isolated in single rooms for their quarantine stays.




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