Yes, a high-tech cafe staffed by robot waiters controlled remotely by paralyzed people has opened in Tokyo, Japan. The pop-up shop employs total of 10 people with a variety of conditions that restrict their movement, and they help control robots in the Dawn Ver cafe, earning 1,000 yen per hour – the standard waiting staff pay rate in Japan. These OriHime-D robots used in the cafe were developed by Japanese start-up Ory, who originally designed them to be used in the homes of people with severe mobility issues. Operators can instruct them to move, observe, speak with customers and carry objects by simply moving their eyes. Read more for two more videos and additional information.
This project aims to test the connection between disabled people and the robots, to help people who might otherwise be housebound, while still earning a wage. They used human controllers with variety of conditions, including spinal cord injuries and the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS.
“The cafe will initially only be open for two weeks. Its creators are raising money via a crowdfunding campaign to see if they can get enough to open a Dawn Ver cafe permanently from 2020,” reports The BBC.