Terrifying seven-foot tall robots controlled by a human using a virtual reality system are stocking shelves in Japanese convenience stores to allow social distancing among workers

Both FamilyMart and Lawson are testing out a robot stock boy named Model-T

It's operated remotely by a human using a virtual-reality console

FamilyMart wants to deploy the Model-T in up to 20 stores by 2022

In addition to letting staff work remotely, the robot could address Japan's critical labor shortage 



PUBLISHED: 21:01 BST, 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 21:49 BST, 18 September 2020


일 편의점, 가상현실(VR) 이용 재고 정리 로봇 활용 시험

   일본의 편의점들은 일본의 노동력 부족을 해결하고 전염병 발생 시 사람들이 사회적으로 거리를 둘 수 있도록 하기 위해 로봇을 시험하고 있다.

일본 2위의 편의점 체인 패밀리마트가 헨리 포드의 유명 자동차에 이어 모델-T라는 안드로이드 스톡보이를 개발한 로봇 회사 텔레시스턴스와 제휴했다.

모델-T는 AI를 사용하기보다는 가상현실(VR)을 이용해 로봇의 움직임을 원격으로 조작하는인간 오퍼레이터와 연결된다.

2.1m 높이의 이 로봇은 제품을 들어올리고 움직이는 데 필요한 동작 범위가 넓고, 작동자와 자동자 사이의 지연 시간은 50밀리초밖에 되지 않는다.

이번 주 모델-T는 미쓰비시 자회사인 또 다른 편의점인 로슨에서 출시되었다.

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터

Ki Chul Hwang Conpaper editor curator

via youtube

edited by kcontents

Japanese convenience stores are testing out robots to stock store shelves in hopes of combating the country's labor shortage and allowing human workers to socially distance during a pandemic.

FamilyMart, Japan's second largest convenience store chain, has partnered with robotics company Telexistence on an android stock boy named Model-T, after Henry Ford's famous car.

Rather than use AI, Model-T is connected to a human operator who manipulates the robot's movements remotely using virtual reality (VR).

The seven-foot tall robot has a wide range of motion, necessary for lifting and moving products, with a lag time of only 50 milliseconds between operator and automaton. 

This week Model-T was rolled out at Lawson, another convenience store that is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi. 

Scroll down for video 

Model T, a robot designed to stock shelves, is being tested out at FamilyMart and Lawson convenience stores in Tokyo. It's operated remotely by a human using a virtual reality console

In FamilyMart's pilot program, an operator logs into a VR terminal from Telexistence's office in Toranomon, Tokyo, and remotely operates a  Model-T installed at a store five miles away in the Toshima Ecomusee Town building. 

FamilyMart says Model-T could help address Japan's labor shortage and allow workers to maintain social distancing during an outbreak

FamilyMart says it wants to create 'a completely new store operation' by making restocking work automated and remote, saving a large amount of labor-hours.

While Model-T doesn't move very fast, or remove the need for human employees altogether, one operator could theoretically govern the movements of multiple robots in a number stores with the same layout and inventory.

For now, Model-T will restock plastic beverage bottles from the back of the store, which makes up a relatively large portion of the workload.

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FM POC with Telexistence Model-T


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