Meet Tawabo, a new quadrilingual tour guide robot at Tokyo Tower

tokyo tower employs new quadrilingual tour guide robotTokyo Tower has been feeling a little sorry for itself since it lost the Japan’s-tallest-structure title to Tokyo Skytree in May. In a bid to attract more tourists to the 54-year-old observation tower, a new robot has been introduced to meet and greet visitors.

Tawabo (from ‘tower’ and ‘robot’) isn’t just any old robot though. This one can speak no less than four languages – Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean – which should come in handy seeing that the tower receives around 100,000 overseas visitors a year.

As for looks, Tawabo can best be described as a stocky version of the tower, with its similar orange and white color scheme, and pointy top. Its computer-monitor face appears to display a smile most of the time, though information about the tower and its surroundings is also shown on the screen.

tokyo tower employs new quadrilingual tour guide robot tawabo

Unveiled on the observation deck in a special ceremony this week, Tawabo received a certificate of employment, after which he told the gathered press and visitors, “I want to learn from other employees so that I can be hospitable and greet customers.”

With a height of 160cm (5’3”) and weighing in at a hefty 400lb (180kg), let’s hope Tawabo is free from any malfunctioning mishaps, as an out-of-control tank hurtling about the top of Japan’s second tallest structure would only end in tears.

The 333-meter-tall (1,092 ft) tower usually receives around three million visitors a year, though with the opening of Tokyo Skytree across town – which at 634 meters (2,080 ft) is almost twice the height of its little brother – Tokyo Tower will be hoping it can maintain those numbers.

Perhaps the prospect of meeting a super-intelligent quadrilingual robot called Tawabo might pull in a few extra punters….

[via Guardian; top image: Lazar Mihai-Bogdan / Shutterstock; bottom image: RocketNews24]