TOKYO -- A day may be coming soon when that friendly "Irashaimase!" ("Welcome!") you hear in Japan at the convenience store or the bank will come from the mouth of a mechanical clerk rather than a human one. Humanoid robots are catching on, and they are expected to help retail businesses improve customer service.
Backers say robots attract customers and increase sales with their ability to handle detailed tasks and multiple languages. They can also be used in combination with cloud computing to compile data on customers. They may also help alleviate labor shortages and cut personnel costs.