The Gulf Today - Panorama - - HAVE YOU HEARD? -

“Please en­joy your meal,” says Nepal’s first robot waiter, Ginger, as she de­liv­ers a plate of steam­ing dumplings to a ta­ble of hun­gry cus­tomers. The poor Hi­malayan na­tion is bet­ter known for its soar­ing moun­tain peaks than tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess, but a group of self-taught young in­no­va­tors is seek­ing to change that.

Lo­cal start-up Paaila Tech­nol­ogy built Ginger, a 5-foot tall robot, from scratch and pro­grammed her to un­der­stand both English and Nepali. The bilin­gual hu­manoid robot — named Ginger after a com­mon in­gre­di­ent in Nepali cui­sine — can even crack jokes like Ap­ple’s Siri or Ama­zon’s Alexa. Three ‘Gingers’ work at Naulo restau­rant in the dusty cap­i­tal Kath­mandu, where pot-holed roads and crum­bling build­ings still bear the scars of a pow­er­ful earthquake that hit more than three years ago. “This is our test­ing ground. We are fine-tun­ing it with re­sponses from our cus­tomers,” said Bi­nay Raut, CEO of the company. The team of 25 young engineers — Raut is the old­est at 27 — worked for months to build the robot, weld­ing and mould­ing the pro­to­type by hand in their tiny three-roomed of­fice.

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