Customer-facing robotics will be used at Japanese retailer Mitsukoshi for two days this week, providing customers with information about the upmarket department store.

The female-like robot, which has been designed and developed by Toshiba, has been programmed with multiple human-type expressions and will offer passers-by details about the different parts of the store and forthcoming events. Called Chihira, the robot has already appeared at events and exhibitions but this is the first time it has made a public customer service appearance.

Mitsukoshi's store in Nihonbashi will host the robot as part of a wider promotional campaign by Toshiba at the venue, on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Toshiba first announced the arrival of its "lifelike communication android" in October 2014, saying it had developed a model that could move its arms and hands smoothly and use Japanese sign language.

Initially the prototype was designed with the aim of helping people in the fields of welfare and healthcare, and it was showcased for the first time at the annual Japanese trade show CEATEC JAPAN.

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