Robots are serving waffles and drinks in a Tokyo cafe, as well as performing precisely choreographed dances to entertain customers.
Designed by the Japanese company SoftBank Robotics, which has 500 employees in Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Boston and Shanghai, the robots are 120 cm tall and will enter into conversation when they detect a human. A touch screen on the robot’s chest displays content to highlight messages and support speech.
Called Pepper, their creator says they are the world’s first social humanoid robot able to recognise faces and basic human emotions.
Pepper helps take customer orders and interact with them at tables, take photos, and performs dances throughout the day. When the restaurant closes, Whiz, an AI cleaning robot, uses self-driving technology to clean the floors and tables.
The cafe, Pepper PARLOR, is located at the Tokyu Plaza Shibuya and serves waffles and drinks.
SoftBank Robotics launched its first robot in 2006 and now has more than 25,000 in operation in more than 70 countries. It says its aim is to make robots accessible to all so that they become “daily companions”.