© Reuters. Mira Robotics employees change part of a Ugo-Avatar robot in the company's laboratory in Kawasaki
TOKYO (Reuters) – Mira Robotics has developed its "ugo" robot to strengthen the shrinking workforce in Japan. However, with the corona virus threat continuing, the Japanese startup is offering its machine as a tool to fight the outbreak, the company's CEO said.
"The corona virus has created a need for robots because they can reduce direct human contact," Ken Matsui told Reuters in his company's workshop in Kawasaki, Tokyo. "We have received inquiries from overseas, including from Singapore and France."
The latest feature of the remote-controlled or so-called Avatar robot is a hand attachment that kills viruses on door handles with the help of ultraviolet light.
An unprecedented population decline, shrinking Japan's workforce by more than half a million people annually, and reluctance to hire foreign workers to fill vacancies have spurred robotics development in Japan.
The emergence of a demand related to corona viruses could promote this work.
Mira Robotics & # 39; Ugo is a pair of height-adjustable robotic arms that are mounted on wheels and can be remotely controlled via a wireless connection to a laptop and game controller. A laser on the base for distance measurement facilitates navigation, while a field at the top displays the eyes to achieve a friendlier appearance.
It takes about 30 minutes to learn how to use the robot, with each operator being able to control up to four machines, Matsui said. Ugo, whose rental costs around $ 1,000 a month, can be used as a security guard, perform device inspections, and clean toilets and other areas in office buildings, he added.
Matsui's two-year startup has only had one Ugo in an office building in Tokyo.
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