Photo: Mr. Moriyama/Node
The groom is a robotics researcher. The bride works at a robotics firm. Robots brought them together. So when it came time to plan their wedding, the choice only seemed natural: A robot would conduct the ceremony.
The wedding took place today in Tokyo, according to this AP report. The groom was Tomohiro Shibata, a professor of robotics at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in central Japan; the bride was Satoko Inoue, who works at famed robotics firm Kokoro.
Leading the ceremony was a little humanoid robot called I-Fairy with a high-pitch voice and flashing eyes. Kokoro, which unveiled the robot early this year, designed the I-Fairy as a robot receptionist and entertainer. It sells for 6.3 million yen (US $68,000).
The robot has a humanoid body in a sitting posture and, as the company puts it, its appearance was "based on the image of a lovely fairy." It can talk, gesture with its arms, and detect the presence of a person, according to this story in the Japanese blog Node.
Kokoro says this was the first time a robot celebrated a wedding.
At one point the robot told the groom: "Please lift the bride's veil."
Then the couple kissed.
Thanks, Dr. Kumagai!
Blog Post: Developed by the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, the theatrical robots performed the first robot kiss during a performance of Phantom of the Opera.
Blog Post: Geminoid F, a copy of a woman in her 20s with long dark hair, exhibits facial expressions more naturally than previous androids
Article: A Japanese roboticist is building androids to understand humans--starting with himself
Erico Guizzo is the Director of Digital Innovation at IEEE Spectrum, and cofounder of the IEEE Robots Guide, an award-winning interactive site about robotics. He oversees the operation, integration, and new feature development for all digital properties and platforms, including the Spectrum website, newsletters, CMS, editorial workflow systems, and analytics and AI tools. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.