Gadgets

RoboWaiter wants to make American restaurants great again with robots


RoboWaiter’s crack team, consisting  of a developer, designer and a robotics expert, came together at last night’s Disrupt NY hackathon to create a faster, better, smarter waiter using IBM Watson and robots.

Developer Nina Yang came up with the idea last night before the event when her waiter took a while to take her order. Humans, she pointed out, are often busy and can’t handle everything. They also can get orders wrong. But, pending any glitches, robots don’t.

RoboWaiter works through an app powered by IBM Watson which hooks up to a backend ordering platform that can also control a robot to bring you your food. Customers simply download the app, select their seat and voice their order from the menu and the system sends that order back to the kitchen. A chef then places the order onto the robot and the robot moseys on over to your table with your meal.

Now, if you are a waiter you may be realizing at this very moment RoboWaiter has just come up with a plan to replace your job, which has been a serious concern for many American workers in the last few years — and should worry many out-of-work actors just trying to get by in New York.

But on the bright side, according to team member Sharon Gai, “We’re going to make America great again by giving robots jobs.”

Of course, this is not the first robot that has tried to serve humans something. California restaurant Eatsa requires zero human interaction to get your food and one clever robot butler even tried to get former TechCrunch writer Alex Wilhelm drunk by offering him a bunch of booze.

Gai, Yang and their other teammate Irvin Cardenas were already friends before embarking on this endeavor to replace human workers. In fact, the three met right here at TechCrunch’s Disrupt hackathon exactly one year ago to take on the event space with their promoter platform CrowdBuilder. That one didn’t really go anywhere, but they’re hopeful they’re on to something this time.

Cardenas is also presenting in the robotics session of Disrupt for his startup Robotica.ai. We wish him luck in both endeavors.


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