Robot to act as MC at SKorean wedding

SEOUL, June 15, 2007 (AFP) – A robot will be master of ceremonies for a South Korean wedding this weekend in what its creators Friday claimed as a world first.

Hanool Robotics said Tiro the robot will assist at the civil wedding ceremony for Seok Gyeong-Jae, one of the engineers who designed it, and his bride on Sunday at Daejeon, 130 kilometers (78 miles) south of Seoul.

The firm claims it is the first time a robot has been used as master of ceremonies for a wedding.

After its marital duties are completed, “Tiro will be upgraded so that it can be used for various purposes,” Hanool official Kim Dae-Hyun told AFP.

In case a robot MC at a wedding might seem unromantic, Kim said Tiro — whose value he put at 200 million won (215,053 dollars) — would speak in a sweet female voice.

Other robots will be used to guide guests or give performances at the wedding ceremony, he said. In South Korea, couples can hold a wedding ceremony in any location but must then register their marriage with authorities before it becomes legal.

South Korean robots also get tougher tasks. Last month it was reported that a robot dubbed OFRO would be deployed as a school security guard in what was also claimed as a world first.

And last September government officials unveiled a high-tech, machine gun-toting sentry robot that could support troops along the heavily fortified border with North Korea.

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