|I-Fairy, a 4-foot-tall seated robot, officiated in a tinny voice, waving its arms as the newlyweds kissed. (Itsuo Inouye/ AP)|
TOKYO — 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 nuptials at this ceremony were led by “I-Fairy,’’ a 4-foot-tall seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails. Yesterday’s wedding was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to the manufacturer, Kokoro Co.
“Please lift the bride’s veil,’’ the robot said in a tinny voice, waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests.
The wedding took place at a restaurant in Hibiya Park in Tokyo, and the I-Fairy wore a wreath of flowers and directed a rooftop ceremony. Wires led out from beneath the robot to a black curtain a few feet away, where a man crouched and clicked commands into a computer.
Japan has one of the most advanced robotics industries in the world, with the government actively supporting the field for future growth. Industrial models in factories are now standard, but recently Japanese companies are making a push to inject robots into everyday life.
“This was a lot of fun,’’ said bride Satoko Inoue, 36, who works at robot manufacturer Kokoro. “I think that Japanese have a strong sense that robots are our friends.’’
“ The I-Fairy sells for about $68,000.