SOLIDWORKS-Designed Robots Are the New Face of Some Japanese Businesses

Imagine rolling into a hotel late at night, bleary-eyed from a long day of travel, and instead of a perky hotel clerk you are greeted by an android. Sounds like something you might see on the SciFi channel, but it’s not. Robots will staff the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, which set to make its debut in July. The 10 humanoid robots will greet guests, carry luggage, and clean rooms.

The technology behind this space-age concept comes from a robotics company Kokoro, which has been developing “actroids,”or human-like robots since 2003. The company uses SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium for its design work.

The robots, modeled to resemble a young Japanese woman, can mimic human behaviors such as breathing and blinking, speak fluent Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English, and know how to make eye contact and respond to body language and tone.

For those seeking more human-like contact, the hotel will supplement the staff with a few mere mortals, though according to company President Hideo Sawaka, the goal is for the robots to perform 90 percent of the hotel’s services.

Even the hotel’s building itself will reflect high tech. Guests will access their rooms through facial recognition software rather than key cards, and room temperatures will be monitored via a radiation panel that detect body heat. Calling the front desk is now a thing of the past. Guests in need of additional amenities will be able to request them via a hotel-provided tablet.


Japanese Bank Employs Multilingual Robot

Ever lost your cash card and needed to know what to do? Well, in Japan that query could be efficiently answered by Nao, a bipedal android that is now officially on duty at Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s largest bank. Nao speaks Japanese, English and Chinese and can answer a number of inquiries, including how to go about opening up an account.



Nao was designed using SOLIDWORKS software by Aldebaran Robotics. The robot is a unique combination of sensors, motors and software driven by the company’s operating system, NAOqi. It offers 25 degrees-of-freedom movement, two cameras, an inertial measurement unit, touch sensors and four directional microphones.

The robot, which can be found at the bank’s flagship location near Tokyo station, would set you back around $8,000 so good news that he can also dance and act out sport poses. Nao stands around two feet tall, which allows him to be fully bipedal, and boasts an impressive sense of balance when it stands on one leg to perform complex dance moves.

Currently, Nao is learning to master Chinese and English. However, as voice recognition software gets better with updates on the server side, the robot could be of particular use to foreigner visitors to Japan in the future. Why? Banks like UFJ don’t allow cash withdrawals with cards from outside the country. UFJ ATMs will start to accept foreign cards in the future, however, and Nao may prove helpful with the flock of tourists coming to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.

Watch this Born to Design video to see how Aldebaran’s design team used SOLIDWORKS software in its robot’s design.

Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.