Two Belgian hospitals have added an innovative staff member to their reception desks: humanoid robots called Pepper.
The robots took up assistant reception duties at hospitals in Ostend and Liege on Monday..
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The humanoid assistant, which has a screen on his chest and a round head, is the first robot in the world to be used to greet people in a medical setting, his software creators said.
Standing 140cm (4ft 7in) tall and equipped with wheels under his white frame, Pepper can recognise the human voice in 20 languages and detect if he is talking to a man, woman or child.
Robots like Pepper, whose components come from Asia but are assembled in France, have already been tested in Japanese shops and a few large French malls, generally carrying out retail functions.
This is the first time they will be used in hospitals.