Every now and then, society will shudder at the thought of future robot technology and its ability to replace mankind’s hardest efforts. From manual labor to computing and programming to medicine to copy. robots could very well be taking over the jobs we do one day.
Fortunately, one group of robots is actually helping to employ and empower the disabled community.
Welcome to Dawn ver.β, a cafe staffed by robot servers. Named the Orihime after the Weaver Girl, a famous Japanese folk tale and constellation who was said to be forbidden from being united with her love, the Cow Herd, the robots are only four feet tall. Still, they are capable of carrying objects, communicating orders from customers, and moving around their workplace.
The orihime’s commands can be implemented from another location and the control input system has functionality with people’s eyes. People like MS patients who have been paralyzed and lost the use of their limbs can actually type and select commands through the subtle movements of their eyes, allowing them to work from the comfort and safety of their own homes and beds.
“Even those who can’t go out can work through this alter ego and have a role in society,” says Ory, the startup behind the revolutionary technology.
Each orihime operator is paid standard part time wages for their work, 1000 yen an hour (or $8.80).
Ory’s breakthroughs were partially funded through crowdfunding roughly $26,000. They also enjoy such sponsors as All Nippon Airways (ANA), the Nippon Foundation, and the Avatar Robotic Consultative Association (ARCA).
The Dawn project was specifically inspired by the anime “Time of Eve,”which features a cafe of the same name where humans and robots coexist in space peacefully. Dawn stands for Diverse Avatar Working Network.
Dawn’s current prototype and pop-up space will only run until December 7th, but a full scale opening is planned for the year 2020.