You Couldn’t Make This Up: Robot Conducts Wedding Ceremony in Japan

Eyesflashing "Please lift the bride's veil," said .I-Fairy, a four-foot tall seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails, wearing a wreath of flowers, in a tinny voice, waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests. I-Fairy directed a wedding ceremony for groom Tomohiro Shibata 42, and bride Satoko Inouye, 36, at a Tokyo restaurant Sunday, May 16, 2010. The wedding was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye). Almost everyone stood when the bride walked down the aisle in her white gown, but not the wedding conductor, because she was bolted to her chair. The wedding took place at a restaurant in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, where the I-Fairy wore a wreath of flowers and directed a rooftop ceremony. 

"This was a lot of fun. I think that Japanese have a strong sense that robots are our friends. Those in the robot industry mostly understand this, but people mainly want robots near them that serve some purpose," said bride Satoko Inoue, 36, who works at manufacturer Kokoro.

"It would be nice if the robot was a bit more clever, but she is very good at expressing herself," said new husband Tomohiro Shibata, 42, a professor of robotics at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in central Japan.

The I-Fairy sells for about 6.3 million yen ($68,000) and three are in use in Singapore, the U.S. and Japan, according to company spokeswoman Kayako Kido. It has 18 degrees of motion in its arms, and mainly repeats preprogrammed movements and sounds.

http://www.physorg.com/news193229804.html

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