AVATAR ROBOT CAFE

Grand Prix

Case Film

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TitleAVATAR ROBOT CAFE
BrandORY LABORATORY
Product / ServiceORIHIME / ORIHIME-D
CategoryA02. Applied Innovation
EntrantADK CREATIVE ONE Tokyo, JAPAN
Idea Creation ADK CREATIVE ONE Tokyo, JAPAN
PR SUNNY SIDE UP Tokyo, JAPAN
Additional Company ZYX INTERNATIONAL Tokyo, JAPAN
Additional Company 2 ADK MARKETING & SOLUTIONS INC. TOKYO, JAPAN
Additional Company 3 PYGMALION Tokyo, JAPAN

Credits

Name Company Position
Kenshiro Sadaka ADK Creative One Creative Director / Creative Technologist
Yoshihiro Kozuka ADK Creative One Creative Technologist / Creative Futurist
Satoshi Innami ADK Creative One PR Director
Masami Shimamura SUNNY SIDE UP PR Manager
Masaya Uchida SUNNY SIDE UP Media Relations
Taku Kasahara ADK Creative One Art Director
Kei Takimoto ADK Creative One Designer
Mutsumi Hayashida ADK Creative One Creative Producer
Kenta Terada ADK Creative One Production Manager
Sakura Egami ADK Creative One Production Manager
Sho Matsuki Freelance Director
Sho Sato Freelance Photographer
Sho Tominaga Freelance Editor
Chihiro Kato ADK Creative One Activation Producer
Miho Fujioka ADK Creative One Merchandiser
Shodai Kako ADK Creative One Merchandiser
Kosuke Aono ZYX INTERNATIONAL Event Planner
Akihiko Kiyomiya ADK Marketing Solutions Account Executive
Atsushi Hayashi ADK Marketing Solutions Account Executive
Masaru Kataoka Pygmalion Retoucher

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

For disabled people, the innovation of this idea lies in their increased job opportunities when the use of avatar robots becomes more widespread. For companies, its innovation lies in their increased employment of disabled people through the use of avatar robots. For society, its innovation lies in kickstarting discussions on reforming existing laws to advance the social interests of disabled people.

Background

There is a potential demand for creating a system where people with disabilities can work permanently and linking it to the societal implementation of the employment of people with disabilities in Japan. Because the employment rate for physically disabled people remains at about 5%, and amidst an outcry about labor shortages, the employment rate of disabled people has not progressed. At the same time, many disabled people have given up on getting a job with a company. We found that there is a glass ceiling for disabled people to participate in society , and decided to challenge for breaking the glass ceiling with technology and innovation. Out objectives of this project are that we pay attention to the insights of people with disabilities that "want the opportunity to contribute to society", and create a system where people with disabilities can work.

Describe the idea

Drawing on the insight that disabled people desire opportunities to contribute to society on their own rather than having someone help them, we opened a cafe in Tokyo where disabled people can serve customers using "avatar robots." The robots are controlled using a unique interface that supports operation by eye tracking, computer mouse, smartphone, and other methods. This serves to encourage the employment of disabled people who have ALS, are bedridden, or use wheelchairs. This also demonstrated the possibility of employing disabled people to employers and provided an unprecedented and unique experience to visitors who usually do not come into contact with disabled people. We provided an opportunity for people who were isolated from society to work and created a chance to encourage the employment of disabled people.

What were the key dates in the development process?

Between January and the end of July 2019, we raised $750,000 in funds from nine companies. In August 2019, we raised $100,000 in funds from 554 people through crowdfunding. This tremendous support made it possible for us to hold this event. Since May, we have recruited disabled people who are willing to work and trained 30 of them in customer service. We developed "OriHime" avatar robots, which can be controlled remotely by eye control and other means, to complement their abilities. On October 7th, 2019, we opened the café in Otemachi, the heart of Tokyo's business district. In the three weeks between then and October 23rd, 2019, about 1,200 people, including the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Deputy Minister of the Cabinet Office, as well as the leader of the opposition party, visited the cafe.

Describe the innovation / technology

The robots are controlled using a unique interface that supports operation by eye tracking, computer mouse, smartphone, and other methods. This allows users to operate the robots regardless of the severity of their impairment. A total of 30 disabled people worked as cafe employees using the avatar robots. we conducted process design for 30 pilots in different locations to demonstrate their teamwork. In order to handle the complex customer service of the cafe, we also conducted interface design in the cafe shop so that it is easier for disabled people to serve customers through the robots, as well as experience design so that the disabled people can have lively conversations with the customers.

Describe the expectations / outcome

This project was covered in more than 500 articles/stories. Media exposure was equivalent of 7.6 million USD.Most important of all, more than 5 handicapped people who participated have been successfully hired by a company after this project. Three weeks of work experience at AVATAR ROBOT CAFE led to my employment with their company. 0.75 million USD in funding from five major companies has been raised for running this project. 0.1 million USD has been raised from 554 people through crowdfunding. The Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Deputy Minister of the Cabinet Office, and the opposition leader visited the cafe and mentioned the avatar robots in the media, which led to major movement for the revision of the law. Kanagawa Prefecture and the Ory Laboratory have signed an agreement to realize the vision of a symbiotic society. Due to the great response, we conducted two additional operations in Shibuya.

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