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Ghost in the Shell's Tachikoma Robots Under Development for Use in Customer Service

posted on by Eric Stimson
Half-size models on display in Shibuya I.G. Store

Two years ago, the Ghost in the Shell Realize Project launched with the aim of recreating aspects of the futuristic, technologically advanced world of Ghost in the Shell. Its focus this year has been on developing half-size Tachikoma, the four-legged, spider-like blue robots from the manga/anime series. A demonstration of what the project has developed so far was given for the media in Tokyo on December 22.

The project's current goals is to have the half-size Tachikoma available in stores for use as customer service. They will be able to greet customers and hand over their purchases. They will be controlled through customers' individual smartphone apps. The app, Virtual Agent Tachikoma, lets you raise your own Tachikoma and give it the personality type and lines you desire. When customers go to the store, their in-app Tachikoma will synch with the in-store Tachikoma and transfer the personality. The developers stated that "as a result of safety considerations," the Tachikoma will be only half-independent.

Reo Matsumura, one of the developers, told journalists that maintaining the robot's balance during movement was the hardest part so far. He took cues from F-1 cars in developing a robot that only weighs 65 kg (143 pounds) despite measuring about 1.5 meters (five feet) in length.

The project team explained that they wanted to "destroy the present state of affairs, where there's no robot infrastructure," and thought of how to "introduce the robot that users are requesting." The estimated date of completion is March 2018. Sakiko Tamagawa, who voiced the Tachikoma in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, will record their lines. Until then, a model will be on display at the I.G. store in Shibuya Marui until January 15. It will then move to the I.G. Store in the Asia-Pacific Trade Center in Osaka until January 30, then elsewhere in Osaka until February 12.

Sources: Anime! Anime!: Shizuku Tsukino and Netlab: Kikka

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