NEPAL’S FIRST ROBOT WAITER IS READY FOR ORDERS
“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.