Yaskawa-kun, the Ice Cream Robot
The Japanese culture has always been known to be one that integrates robots into everyday activities in a pretty nonchalant way. What with robots delivering sushi, recommending you a haircut, trying to combat the population decline, it isn’t a rare sight to see a robot in your everyday hustle and bustle. Say hello to the ice cream robot!
Yaskawa-kun is a ice cream robot vendor that serves ice-cream with a smile! The whole robot ice-cream set up might as well be a huge vending machine but a pretty cool vending machine to say the least.
After depositing a 100 yen coin and picking out a flavor and other selections from a touch screen, Yaswaka-kun, in a pretty human like way, grabs a cone and uses the ice-cream machine to get it in the cone. Music plays while this entire process is happening. The way the robot’s movements are done are eerily like a human, it moves in such a way to get the perfect shape of the cone. It then hands the ice-cream to you through the sliding door and then proceeds to stare at you. With a smile.
You can probably walk up to it and stare at it before ordering an ice-cream.
Yaskawa-kun was named after the company that made him, Yaskawa, a Japanese engineering company that specializes in robotics. Yaswaka-kun was revealed a feature at the “Future Exhibition” held at Yaskawa’s headquarters in Fukuoaka.
You can find Yaskawa-kun as a feature at the Tokyo Summerland waterpark which prohibits the entry of any persons affiliated with crime syndicates and persons with tattoos. You hear that people in crime syndicated with tattoos? Yaskawa-kun won’t serve you any ice-cream!
Maybe the world will be a less scary place if robots planned to spread ice-cream stands all over the world instead of world domination. We’ll have to wait and see once they become self-aware.
Here’s what some Japanese users had to say about it:
“ He’s so cute I’d probably accidentally say thank you’ when I took the ice-cream”
“Finally, I can buy ice-cream without any awkward social interactions, this is all I’ve ever wanted”
“Someone stop me from buying all the ice-creams I’m going to be buying”
“If he serves toppings too, like sprinkles and chocolate sauce then I’m never going out to have ice-cream at a parlor again”
“Just saw the cutest thing ever, a robot ice-cream vendor! I bought a cone for 100 yen and will probably go back!”
Robots Stealing Our Ice Cream Jobs?
There is also the argument that always comes up when robots are introduced a job humans have always done. Will they replace all ice-cream stands? Is that an actual possibility? Vending machines are already everywhere in Japan, and Yaskawa-kun is one big glorified vending machine. Are our ice-cream jobs safe? One cannot say with confidence and we’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, we can exploit their lack of self-awareness and have for ourselves delicious ice-creams.
Check out some other industries integrating speech recognition.