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2017.12.19 AI “meme-san” Recommends Books Based on Facial Expressions
“AI bookstore staff, meme-san”, based on software jointly developed by Tohan Corporation and sMedio, made its debut on Nov. 6, 2017, at the Book First bookstore in Shinjuku. The store is running an Agatha Christie fair at the moment, and “meme-san” will select and recommend a book from a selection of 51 Christie titles.

Meme-san is part of Tohan’s “Book-Nurturing Project” under “McLuhan’s Bookshelf.” According to Tohan, the “Book-Nurturing Project” is a scheme that tries to nurture truly interesting books into bestsellers. “McLuhan’s Bookshelf” explores new ways to help customers find books.

Prior to meme-san, at the end of September 2017, Tohan installed the “Next Generation Electronic POP”, a remotely-accessible electronic paper display, at Yaesu Book Center. It demonstrated how customer information, such as how long someone spent instore and the number of times they picked up a book, could be gathered through inbuilt sensors.

When a customer stands in front of meme-san and presses the start button, it will analyze the person’s age and gender and categorize their expression as “happy,” “neutral,” or “sad.” From this data, meme-san will make a recommendation of one of Agatha Christie’s books from the list. By utilizing this service, customers may be able to discover a book that they otherwise may never have chosen. 

Meme-san was implemented through the joint effort of multiple companies. The book selections were provided by Hayakawa Publishing, and the visuals as well as store interior were undertaken by Mystery Channel, Inc. Meme-san will be installed until Jan. 9, 2018.

For more details, please visit the following websites: