Shoppers browsing for baubles at Beijing Jin Xi Fu Jewelry store might be forgiven for thinking their salesperson looks and acts a little stiff – robots tend to look and act that way. She also looks like a well-known actress from a Chinese TV drama, which is no surprise since the actual actress gave the Xi'an Chao Ren Robot Technology Company permission to use her likeness.
Xiao Jin, as “she” has been dubbed, cost the store 400,000 yuan (about $60,000) and her functions are limited to arm movements, eyebrow-raising and lip-synched speaking and singing controlled by remote control.
Rumors stating Xiao Jin's true purpose is to serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law are not true, though plans are in the works to upgrade to a walking, talking robot that can interact with customers using voice recognition technology.
While Xiao Jin boasts limited functionality, her price is more a reflection of the meticulous care the Xi'an Chao Ren Robot Technology Company took in crafting her. “All her hair, from scalp to eyebrows are one hundred percent human,” explained store manager Wang Qingyong, who pointed out “It took a lot more effort inserting these.”
Even so, 400,000 is a lot of yuan, even for a high-end jewelry store. When asked if Xiao Jin's presence has had any effect on the bottom line, Wang replied in the affirmative, stating “Our store has so far witnessed a 30 percent increase in turnover due to her being on display.” Works for me... or at least she would, if I owned a jewelry store. I'll buy that for a dollar! (via People's Daily Online)