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Sony to develop avatar robot with ANA startup

Customer service and nursing care among envisioned roles

A customer shopping from home via avatarin's avatar talks with a clerk. (Photo from company's Facebook account)

TOKYO -- Sony looks to enhance next-generation robots from avatarin, a startup launched by Japanese carrier ANA Holdings, as interest grows in remote-control machines that can take the place of humans amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo-based avatarin lets users feel like they are somewhere else by seeing through the eyes of a robot and gaining other senses from the avatar. Plans call for using Sony's artificial intelligence technology and sensors to improve the robot's ability to recognize its surroundings, which could improve automation.

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