Japan has become famous for any number of weird little cafes. They’ve got cat cafes, raccoon cafes, owl cafes, maid cafes, and now robot cafes. Before you start worrying that these robots are AI monsters that exist one step away from Skynet, you should know that it’s actually a great story about using robotics to bring accessibility to people who are trapped by unfortunate situations.
The new robot cafe is called “Dawn ver.β cafe” after the cafe in the anime Time of Eve. When you walk inside, you’ll notice that there aren’t human waiters, but a staff compiled entirely of robots. The brains behind these robots isn’t AI. They are actually being controlled remotely by paralyzed people who are working from home.
In the video below, we can see one video that is being controlled entirely by an ALS patient who can’t speak but can use his eyes to type messages that his robot will speak for him. There is also another robot powered by a paralyzed man that is serving coffee to guests.
In a world where most robot stories are about how we can use them to kill or turn them into sex slaves, it’s nice to start the year with something like this.
This video shows how an ALS patient, unable to speak, can use his eyes to type messages that can then be spoken by the OriHime-D robot. And here another paralyzed man using a OriHime-D serves a coffee.