Chicago in the year 2035. For quite a while already, robots have been put to work in virtually all areas of life, they rush, like human passersby, along sidewalks to destinations and perform various services. Rather than driving a car oneself, people are better off leaving that to the built-in computer. Three basic rules apply: (1) Robots may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow one to be injured. (2) Robots must obey human commands unless this would lead to a violation of the first law. (3) Robots must protect themselves, but not if this violates one or both of the first two laws. So much for the starting scenario for “I, Robot,” which came out in cinemas 12 years ago. Naturally, the plot takes unpleasant twists that bring the androids into disrepute and put humans in danger. Such twists, of course, cannot occur with the robots that are now coming to shopping malls. The helpful beings are ringing in a new era of customer care. They usually offer interactive entertainment in addition to guidance and advice. And visitors remember them. They currently give them unforgettable moments they aspire to in their rare leisure time, thus enhancing the quality of stay in each mall.
Help in every language
WeRobots, developed by Attraktion! and MetraLabs GmbH, can act together thanks to their 3D sensors and can provide entertainment with group performances. In addition, visitors can use the robots to video call one another from different locations in the shopping center. They can also read and process data and preferences stored on customer cards. Other WeRobot features: Fluency in all world languages, high-resolution 15.4-inch multi-touch screen, camera and microphone, RFID, sophisticated CMS, modifiable content, and theft protection. 50 of them now work in China’s largest home furnishing chain “Red Star Macalline” in a new mall in Shanghai. Among other things, they enliven concourses in less visited areas. In “I, Robot” the happy ending is film history. Only time will tell what happens next with the robots in shopping malls. Their chances for broader and longer-term use are good, in any case.