Tokyo Cafe Staffed by Robots Controlled by People With Disabilities
A Great Idea For Those With Disabilities
DAWN is a project that creates the bridge between technology and Humanity. On 26 November, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in the Nippon Foundation Building in Akasaka, for a special kind of cafe.
Called Dawn ver.β, it’s staffed entirely with robot waiters. Robots are not new to Japan. They are in hotels, train terminals, airports. The difference is that these are not your typical robots, as you can see below.
This concept was developed by Ory, a startup that specializes in robotics for disabled people, the OriHime-D is a 120 cm (4-foot) tall robot that can be operated remotely from a paralyzed person’s home. Even if the operator only has control of their eyes, they can command OriHime-D to move, look around, speak with people, and handle objects.
This was created in collaboration between Ory, NPO Nippon Foundation, and airline ANA, Dawn ver.β is designed to resemble the titular cafe from the 2008 anime Time of Eve, which is also contributing to the project. The Cafe runs for a limited time until December 7th.
During this time, a staff of ten people, with conditions such as ALS or spinal cord injuries and working from home, are paid 1,000 yen (US$8.80) an hour (a standard wage for part-time work in Japan) to serve up coffee and interact with the clientele. It also gives those with disabilities some new found independence.
Prior to the cafe’s opening, a crowdfunding drive was held on Japanese site Makuake where it more than doubled its goal of 1.5 million yen ($13,000). If the support continues to come in, it is hoped that a full-fledged Dawn will open in 2020.
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 1-2-2, Nippon Foundation Bldg. 1F
Open: 26-30 November, 3-7 December
Hours: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.