anime-inspired robot maids entertain & serve customers in a japanese cafe

Robot maids of the masiro project


The Japanese team behind MaSiRo project – short for Maid Apprentice Substantiating Ideal RObot – have created three anime-inspired robot sisters who served and entertained customers in a maid robot cafe at Triomphe near Akihabara in Japan for a limited time. It has been a long-time dream for the team to make this happen, and the team even eyes producing robot maids for every home. So far, it has been a complex path to navigate since, as the team puts it, it is not yet common to devise a universally common type robot that can move around freely in an unknown space such as someone’s house.


In the meantime, the robot maids and sisters were happy to welcome customers who dropped by their cafe and wanted to drink hot beverages on a rainy day. MaSiRo project is sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and was chosen as a suitable challenger for the Innovation Program of the department. The brief the team received was to create a maid robot cafe prototype where customers can interact with the robots. It looks like the team behind MaSiRo project carried out the brief quite well.

images & videos courtesy of MaSiRo project



Masiro inside the robot maid cafe


The robot maids and sisters have their own names. MaSiRo is dressed up in a typical chambermaid uniform and seems to be the lead waitress of the team. She can recognize faces with her headband camera, move her neck to nod at the customers, and gaze at them with her LCD eyes. Her right hand has a built-in heater to warm the hands of the customers and gently lead them to their tables. If customers place their hands on Masiro’s shoulders, she crouches down lightly as if it were a natural response to the touch.


The team says that MaSiRo can also pose and wave goodbye to the customers. In the cafe, MaSiRo welcomes the customers and guides them to their table. So far, only MaSiRo is in charge of taking orders – via the QR code that is given to the customers upon entry – and serving them while the other robot maids are there to entertain the cafe goers while they wait for their orders.

robot sisters serving the menu



Meet the youngest sisters, ciro and ciya


Robot maids Ciro and Ciya are the younger sisters of Masiro who help her out in the cafe. The hand-holding function runs in the family, and the youngest sisters can also recognize faces like their elder sister. If the customers hold CiRo’s right hand or CiYa’s left hand and start walking, the robot maids slowly accompany them and keep up with them by their side. The team says that while the current MaSiRo can hold either the customers’ left or right hand, CiRo and CiYa have designated hands to gold.


On the bright side, the youngest sisters can crouch so low to the point that they are kneeling and in this way, customers can lay their heads on the robot maids’ laps like a knee pillow. The team has also moved the camera off the headband and placed them into the ears of the youngest sisters to allow flexibility in hair ornaments and styles. The team shares that it has been considering temporarily removing the hand-holding feature from MaSiRo and retaining it in CiRo and CiYa as they continue to develop more advanced features for MaSiRo. 

MaSiRo team testing how the robot maids greet the customers

CiRo & CiYa

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