Tokyo 2020 Activation: Toyota Motors develop Games mascot-type robots

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Tokyo 2020 Mascots Someity and Miraitowa as remote-controlled robots had a fun-filled day with school kids in the city’s Shinagawa Ward

Tokyo 2020 Robot Project brings to life Tokyo 2020’s Games Vision of “holding the most innovative Games in history and bringing positive reform to the world”.

Last week, the Tokyo 2020 mascot-type robots paid a visit to Hoyo-no-mori School in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward along with Tokyo 2020 representatives to demonstrate the new features of the robot, Tokyo 2020 has stated on its official website.

The mascot-type robots were jointly developed by Tokyo 2020 and Toyota Motors Corporation, who provided technical support to the project. The robots can demonstrate sports competition movements and can also recognise words and facial expressions. They can also respond and showcase Japanese style hospitality or omotenashi – movements ­demonstrated for the first time in public. Here’s another great feature: the movements of the two robots can be remotely controlled.

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The robots synchronised their movements as they met the students, and the children cried “They’re so cute!” as they looked into the heart-shaped eyes of the robots.

The mascot-type robots also showed their skills in rugby and wheelchair basketball. They played a quiz with the children, who tried to guess the sport from the actions of the robots.

Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

The robots can greet people from abroad with gracious omotenashi movements. Using their voice recognition ability, the robots responded when their names were called or when the children said ‘hello’, both in Japanese and in English. They have the ability to recognise facial expressions, when children smile or cry. The robots received a round of applause everytime they responded correctly. The students commented, “The robots not only understood words but they also picked up on facial expressions and reacted. That was amazing. It seemed like they really understood us.”

A teacher operated the Someity robot. The Miraitowa robot next to it would demonstrate synchronised movements.

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At the end of the event, the mascot-type robots lined up at the exit and waved goodbye to all the children. The children also waved back and shouted, “How cute!” as they passed by the robots and saw them up close.

These mascot-type robots will greet the athletes and spectators at the Games-related venues during the Games and will provide support remotely to those who cannot attend the Games in person. More details about the mascot-type robots and their roles will be provided in due course. Look forward to updates on the “Tokyo 2020 Robot Project”.

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