The Nippon Foundation opened "Bunshin (avatar) Robot Cafe Dawn ver.β," where robots were remotely controlled by severely-disabled people to wait on customers, from Nov 26 to Dec 7, 2018.
The cafe was organized in cooperation with OryLab Inc (Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Avatar Robotic Consultative Association.
The Nippon Foundation employed 10 severely-disabled people who are suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), spinal injury, etc and have been finding it difficult to have a job, as "pilots." Each pilot remotely controlled "OriHime" and "OriHime-D," which are robots being developed by OryLab, from home (teleworking).
The hourly pay of each pilot was ¥1,000. In the cafe, remotely-controlled robots waited on customers while human staff members made drinks and cleaned the cafe.
The OriHime root, which is the first avatar robot developed by OryLab, can be controlled with a personal computer (PC), smartphone, etc via the Internet. It comes with a camera, microphone and speaker for communication purposes. Though it is a stationary robot, it can move the neck, hands, etc. The company expects that the robot enables to share the feeling of "being there" by talking with people in remote areas and transmitting reactions.
Thus far, about 70 companies employed the OriHime not only as a tool for supporting people who cannot go to school, work, etc due to illness, disability and so forth but also as a teleworking tool for those who are taking care of babies, senior people, etc.