Robot Cafe To Offer Jobs For People With Disabilities

People with physical disabilities could soon be offered a job controlling wait robots at a cafe in Japan. 

Nozomi Murata has been in a wheelchair since she gradually lost strength in her muscles.

After previously working in the service industry, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to again.

Murata was one of ten people with physical conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to trial remotely-controlled robots at the opening of a cafe in Tokyo's Minato Ward earlier this month.

Remotely-controlled robots developed to promote employment of people with a disability. Image: Reuters

The five robots, each 1.2 metres tall and developed by Ory Lab, took orders and served food to customers.

Video footage and audio is transmitted back to their controllers at home, who can direct the robots via tablets or computers.

People with physical disabilities are often excluded from working and interacting in public spaces, with built environments typically being inaccessible.

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"The robots enable physical work and social participation," CEO of Ory Lab Kentaro Yoshifuji said.

If those people operating the robots feel the joy of serving customers and working in a cafe, it would be wrong to leave that to artificial intelligence, he added.

The workers are paid about AUD$12, or around 1000 yen, per hour.

The minimum wage in Japan sits between AUD $9 (762 yen) and AUD$11 (936 yen) per hour.

Organisers have formed several partnerships to open a permanent cafe by 2020, while another partnership will reportedly further promote employment for people with a disability.

With Reuters, that has also taken the featured image.