Robot bank clerk helps travellers at Narita Airport in Tokyo

TOKYO (REUTERS) - If you need to change money while passing through Tokyo's Narita Airport -- all you have to do is ask the robot.

NAO is a friendly bank clerk that can tell you the rate of exchange for any currency in either English, Japanese or Chinese.

Built by Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics, the sleek red and white machine stands about the height of a bedside table. Gestures, eye movements and mannerisms have all been programmed into NAO in the hopes that humans will take a liking to it.

Mr Helfried Brunner, an Austrian traveller, said: "It's very interesting. It looks quite nice, because I am from Europe, Austria, and we are not used to seeing such robots. Because they are not that common in Europe like they are in Japan, so it's quite interesting."

Graphic designer Karin Krumphals said: "Yeah, it's a bit weird for me because I'm not used to that, to talking to something which is not human and, yeah, we're simply not used to that."

A bit weird for adults maybe, but for kids whose daily lives are increasingly influenced by smart technology, NAO is just the next step along an increasingly automated road.