BellaBot is a cat-like robot waiter

[It may be necessary to watch the 1:14 minute video from the story below (or via YouTube) to appreciate the likelihood that the new “robot cat waiter” BellaBot will evoke medium-as-social-actor presence. The short story from YellRobot is followed by excerpts from a press release from the company that created her, er, it. –Matthew]

BellaBot is a Cat-Like Robot Waiter

January 12, 2020

We’ve seen robot waiters before. Whether a novelty to get more customers or a necessity to battle staff shortages, robots have been becoming increasingly more common in the restaurant industry. The newest robot waiter from Shenzhen, China-based PuduTech puts a bit of a new spin on things.

Meet BellaBot. It’s part waiter, part cat, and all robot. Like other robot waiters, it will bring food from kitchen to table. What makes BellaBot a bit different is its feline-like qualities. The onboard screen features a digital cat face to greet and react to customers.

BellaBot also includes an “advanced tactile feedback system.” So after the robot cat waiter delivers a meal, customers can scratch it on the head and pointy little ears rewarding it for a job well done. If the customer pets it the right way it will smile. If the person does not, BellaBot will give a look of dismay. The robot is also programmed with a variety of unique phrases.

Cat Robot Waiter Can Run for 24 Hours

It’s not all about cuteness. BellaBot is a pretty impressive waiter. It has four stacked shelves to hold meals. Each shelf can handle about 22 pounds. Onboard 3D sensors and cameras that help the waiter robot navigate around the restaurant. BellaBot can stop at any angle to help avoid any obstacles or humans that may get in the way. It can last about 24 hours before it needs to be recharged.

For restaurants that may have multiple Bellabots working, each can directly communicate with any other robot in the same network allowing them to work together.

The BellaBot isn’t PuduTech’s first robot. Last year the company released robot-waiter PuduBot which is already in about 2000 restaurants. PuduTech plans to release the BellaBot for sale in Spring 2020.

[From PuduTech via Business Wire.]

PuduTech Showcases 3 Flagship Robots at CES 2020, Ushering in a New Era for Delivery Robots

January 07, 2020

[snip]

The company organized 2/3 of its exhibition space setting up a “Future Restaurant” for visitors to experience how the delivery robots work in real cases.

[snip]

PuduBot is the company’s first-generation food delivery robot, with more than 5,000 PuduBots currently working at over 2,000 restaurants of different categories in 200-plus cities in more than 20 countries. Annual delivery of these robots has reached 6.5 million times and over 15 million trays of food are delivered to customers in a year, which is equivalent to 3,000 waiters working for a whole year.

A successor to PuduBot, the brand new food delivery robot BellaBot greeted the market only last month. It works as efficient as PuduBot and outperforms its predecessor with extra design features such as multi-model human-robot interactions including human voice, touch, expressions, and lights.

BellaBot amazingly presented such multi-model interactions with visitors at PuduTech’s exhibition space. Some visitors came to greet BellaBot with a touch on its ears and that’s when it winked at them and responded “Oh, How itchy!” When someone kept touching its head or ears, it showed them with an angry face and said “No more touch on me, will you? Bella’s gonna go to work.”

Such human-like reactions did win BellaBot lots of fans. Some said, “The look like a kitty already makes it cute. And Bella even showed rich expressions and emotions. The lovely robot really is my cup of tea. I definitely would go to a restaurant that has Bella serving people there.”

[snip to end]

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