The Takashimiya department store in Japan decided a great promotion would be a lifelike female android mannequin seducing potential shoppers in their store window. Since its introduction, the bot has done nothing but startle customers and inspire robotics designers.
The creator of this mannequin is Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is well known for inventing the Geminoid-F Robot. The Geminoid is a bot designed to look as real as possible. If realistic is the goal, it will cost them $110,000 USD (10 million Yen) to wheel in the bot. The more recent Geminoid-DK takes realism to a completely new level. The DK was made to look exactly like its owner, Aalborg University Professor Henrik Scharfe. Hop over to the DK's website for more.
Lifelike Geminoid DK in this image. Hard to tell it is fake. (via Geminoid DK)
The idea of the mannequin is to draw in more shoppers by intriguing them to see more and not to scare them from walking inside. The mannequin is the new idea of visual merchandising. Dr. Ishiguro said that android mannequins will be the future of shop displays and the traditional mannequins "will be no more." The mannequin knows when someone is present; now that is creepy. It can also display a range of emotions while being able to nod, yawn, and wink at a passersby.
Although it may be freaky to see, it is not any more strange than the age-old tactic of real humans in the display windows. Even that odd job is being taken over my machines. It's a tough world for us humans.