Is it feasible that when most people return to work after the pandemic, or if you get the opportunity to travel or do business in Tokyo, the person who greets you at the hotel or corporate counter will be Hello Kitty?!!

Hello Kitty is a worldwide marketing phenomenon; she is our best friend at home, in our bedrooms, at school, and at work. Hello Kitty will be closer to our lives starting in 2022, as she is about to take on a new duty as a talking robot.

The Hello Kitty robotic version is unveiled April 21 in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward. (Yoko Masuda)

Sanrio and NTT East Japan announced on April 21 that they have collaborated on the Hello Kitty Robot, a communication robot. Hello Kitty Robot may function as a receptionist, tour guide, supplementary teaching and rehabilitation assistance, meeting assistant, and more using NTT Group's AI speech synthesis and speech recognition technologies, as well as cloud AI and API and bespoke apps. She will interact with travelers at tourist information centers, stations, nursing homes, and cram schools. On August 18, the AI Kitty Robot will make its debut. Businesses can employ Hello Kitty Robot to greet guests, guide tourists to check their body temperature with a genuine and smooth voice, and assist in meetings during events, according to the official promotional film. The robot can also be programmed to work with other programs. She can be used for a variety of things, like notifying office personnel when guests arrive and reminding the clerk which visitor has an odd temperature.

With two hours of Hello Kitty's speech data, the 33cm tall, 1.2kg seat table robot can carry on conversations in a voice that is similar to that of a real person. It can move its head and arms in a variety of ways. Software such as dedicated management package, PowerPoint, NTT East Japan's programming education software Sota, and others can be attached to the robot. The actions and response content can be adjusted, allowing Hello Kitty to respond to questions and converse with customers.

Meanwhile, the robot Hello Kitty may be used to teach children how to create computer programs by downloading an app.

According to NTT East Japan, due to Japan's chronic manpower shortage problem and the COVID-19 outbreak, various places such as office receptions, tourist facilities, and restaurants require non-face-to-face non-contact tour guide solutions, resulting in an increasing number of scenarios where robots are used. As a result, they developed a communication robot by combining the popular Kawaii Goddess with the company's cloud receiving robot technology Robo Connect.

The Hello Kitty Robot will be available for rent on a 5-year lease, with monthly rates starting at 75,900 yen (about HK$4,634). It will be available for pre-order on April 22 and will go on sale on August 18. The first-year sales goal is 100 units, and depending on how well the product sells, the company may introduce new models, introduce new Sanrio characters, or support additional national languages.

Are you looking forward to having more interactions with Hell Kitty? As a  Sanrio characters and Hello Kitty fan, who wouldn't ?