People with paralysis remotely control robot waiters in Tokyo cafe

Robots in this anime-inspired, pop-up cafe are allowing people with ALS and spinal-cord injuries to work short-term.

Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Robot waiters working at Dawn Cafe in Tokyo are operated remotely by people who are paralyzed.

PR Times

Not every robot is after your job. Some robots are helping humans earn money, at least temporarily. 

In this case, the robots serving humans at Dawn Cafe in Tokyo are remotely controlled by people who are paralyzed due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), spinal-cord injuries and other debilitating conditions, the SoraNews24 site reports. The pop-up cafe is a beta project that will be open to the public through Dec. 7.

OriHime-D, developed by robotics startup Ory, is a 4-foot-tall (120 centimeter) robot that can be operated remotely. The robots have built-in cameras and speakers so their human operators hear and see what the robots hear and see. 

The controllers command the OriHime-D robots via the internet to move, talk to customers and pick up objects like coffee cups. 

Even people with ALS who may be unable to speak can move their eyes to type messages using special software that will be spoken by the robot. This allows the robot to chat with customers and take orders. 

Dawn Cafe, which is completely run by OriHime-D robot waitstaff, was created as a collaboration among Ory, NPO Nippon Foundation and the airline ANA.

The cafe is designed to look like the fictional cafe from the 2008 sci-fi anime series Time of Eve.

The Time of Eve series tells the story of humans and androids who treat one another as equals while inside a unique cafe.

CNET's Gift Guide: The best place to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list this season.

Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.