Osaka: A Japanese female humanoid robot, designed as a 26-year-old pop idol and equipped with new skills to recognise words and have conversations, reappeared and entertained shoppers at a department store here.
Named "Minami" after a popular downtown area in Osaka, it will be on display until May 12 at the Takashimaya outlet where it first appeared last November.
Up to 50 visitors a day will get to talk with her and take photos in a private room in order of arrival on the weekends and some other given days.
The latest addition to its functions allows Minami, whose older version had to rely on a touch panel for conversations, to recognise questions and answer them.
To a question like "Do you have a boyfriend?" she would answer "I don`t because I`m a pop icon and am not allowed to have any."
Minami was co-developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a robot expert and Osaka University professor, and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto Prefecture.