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Tokyo Cafe Staffs Disabled Robot Controllers

New precedents set for both technology and inclusive employment

By Sarah Ann Noel - January 3, 2019

National Restaurant Consultants wanted to start off your new year with some good news, yes, in the restaurant industry, but also good on a broader plane. According to Fast Company, a new cafe has opened in Tokyo, fully staffed by robots.

The reason this is good news is that the robots are controlled by individuals with severe disabilities, such as paralysis or ALS, that would otherwise prohibit them from finding employement. The controllers work from their homes, where video and audio feeds transmit to tablets used to control the robots actions. The robots are designed Ory Labs, and the cafe was created in collaboration with the Nippon Foundation.

"The idea was to help get people stuck at home back into the workforce, offering part-time jobs and minimum wage (1,000 yen per hour) and some independence, too. It’s not much money-wise, but the hope is that it will give people traditionally sidelined from the workforce a way to be involved or at least give them something a little different to do in their spare time," explained the Fast Company article. (Read the full article here.)