People in this 400-year-old temple worship a robot ‘Goddess’. People visiting Japan’s 400-year-old Kodaiji temple will soon be worshipping a new robot deity. The administrators of the Kyoto-based temple have unveiled a robotic avatar of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, as a way to keep the younger generation connected with Buddhism.
The bot has been named ‘Mindar’ and can even deliver a 25-minute-long sermon to the worshippers. Designed by Osaka University’s Hiroshi Ishiguro, Mindar takes a gender-neutral form.
It evokes both masculine and feminine qualities with an open head exposing aluminium wires, plain facial features, and a mechanical lower half.
Along with the unusual ‘mechanical’ appearance, Mindar will also be wooing worshippers with its ability to move. According to the researchers, the robot ‘Goddess’ can join its hands or move its eyes and torso while delivering the sermon to the worshippers.
Plus, it can even make human-like gestures or focus on a particular subject so that it looks like it is making eye contact. It delivers Sermon with detailed ‘answers’
Basically, a person projected on the wall behind Mindar will ask questions about Heart Sutra while the robot will offer answers in Japanese.