p14a.jpgIf you visit Japan in 2020, you may be greeted by humanoid robots at restaurants, theme parks, buses or trains and offices. These robots, which have convertible legs, can roll about with two or four wheels and walk around with two legs, depending on the situation. The robots, smartly clad in a red jacket and cap, are designed by Hitachi Ltd to address the impending labour shortage due to the rapidly ageing population in Japan.

These robots weigh just 13 kg and stand at 80cm. They are called EMIEW 2 (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate). They can scoot around and converse with others using their pre-programmed words. These robots can work as receptionists or security guards in offices and hospitals because they are able to sense and learn the locations of things and open spaces.