How can you prevent a robot from taking your job? Well, for example, having a human control it from home …

Many people are afraid that, in the medium term, a robot or artificial intelligence will send them to unemployment. The Japanese company Telexistence proposes an alternative: that the robot is controlled by a human, remotely, using virtual reality.

With this system the performance of the robot is still dependent on the work of a human, which brings all its intelligence and decision-making capacity, instead of using artificial intelligence.

Telexistence has shown how its technology works with Model-T, a cat-shaped robot which is controlled remotely, in real time and without latency, using a virtual reality headset. As we can see in this video, the engineer controls the robot’s hands and body and uses them to pick up cans and place them on a supermarket shelf:

At the moment it is a prototype. Replenishing items with this system is much slower than with a real person. At that rate, possibly the robot would have been fired within an hour.

But it’s just a test with constantly evolving technology. The ultimate goal is to use the virtual reality controlled robot in hazardous materials handling tasks, or in places where a person cannot enter.

In the specific case of video, this Telexistence technology solves a curious problem very common in Japan: the Japanese do not want to work as replenishment of products in the supermarket, so these positions are difficult to fill.

Its creators claim that they are harmless and that their main objective is to help humans, but science fiction has made us distrust the concept of ‘robot’. Let’s review the scariest robotics projects currently underway.

The idea is that a single supermarket employee can control different robots located in different stores, as needed, to replenish products.

It seems like science fiction, but Telexistence has already signed a contract with the Japanese supermarket chain FamilyMart for Model-T robots to work in 20 stores of the chain.