Tokyo 2020 invited journalists on Saturday to witness a demonstration from the Olympics and Paralympics mascot-themed robots Miraitowa and Someity.
The mascot robots performed a dance routine for several minutes to a song and showed “emotions” by interacting with Tokyo 2020 staff in a small conference room at the Tokyo 2020 main press centre on Saturday.
The robots, which took 3 years to develop, can perform 12 different emotions including “heart” and “karate”, a Tokyo 2020 representative said.
A Humanoid Robot Group development team from Japanese carmaker Toyota designed the robots. Tomohisa Moridaira is the team’s leader.
“We originally aimed to develop a robot that can move around human beings really closely,” he said.
“In that sense, this time we made these robots friendly, especially for children.”
The robots were originally supposed to interact with thousands of fans and children across Japan during the games but due to the pandemic that number has been limited to a few hundred and many of those have interacted with robots online, designers said on Saturday.
Moridaira said he was disappointed when he heard there would be no spectators at these games due to the pandemic, but he still thinks the project has been worthwhile.
“Honestly, since I was able to take charge of a robot with such an attractive design, I wish that more people had the opportunities to see it,” he said.
“However, I believe that this technology can also be used in other robots, so based on the experience this time I want to make better ones in the future.”
Moridaira is especially proud of the robots’ “smooth, human-like movements, he said.
“What I like about (this robot) is that its movements are created based on human movements, not just programming,” he said.
“In that sense, it represents the character of the person who is moving.
There are currently 10 of these robots. 2 of these are currently at the Olympic and Paralympic Village and 8 have visited special needs schools, a Tokyo 2020 representative said.