Japan’s Robots: Becoming More Human

Robot Runway: Pepper’s Fashion Show Debut (Video)

Science Technology

A Tokyo fashion show for SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper featured outfits designed for the airport, hospital, and construction site.

Pepper debuted on the runway at Tokyo Pepper Collection 2017, the final stage in a competition to design attire for SoftBank’s humanoid robot. The event—held on February 9 at Toranomon Hills in the heart of the capital—featured five outfits: childcare assistant, airport concierge, ryokan (traditional inn) clerk, nurse, and construction worker. The airport concierge uniform won the Grand Prix, while the nurse uniform was chosen for the Special Jury Prize.

Last year, SoftBank Robotics launched a service offering clothes and decorative stickers for Pepper robots. The garments and decals are specially designed to be flexible and disperse heat, so as not to impact Pepper’s movements or cause overheating. The Fukuoka company Bonuni has produced robot uniforms for organizations like Nissan and Mizuho Bank that have started using Peppers. There are also plans to mass-produce this year’s Grand Prix winner.

Hasumi Kazutaka, head of the SoftBank Robotics content marketing center, said the company intended to continue holding the contest. “At first, I thought it was crazy to have robots wearing clothes! But then I realized how important it is to distinguish between Peppers with identical faces.”

robot fashion uniform