In 1983, a Chinese fastfood restaurant in Pasadena, California, added two unlikely new employees to its waitstaff: Tanbo R-1 and Tanbo R-2, a pair of robots. Each cost $US20,000 (which would today be $US45,000, if adjusted for inflation) and, when in proper working order, scooted around delivering bowls of chow mein and plates of peking duck to the amused patrons of Two Panda Deli.
Often, though, they were not in proper working order and would drop plates and trays, like the clumsiest busboy, or their radio frequency would go haywire, like the imperfect robots that they were. When they couldn’t understand a customer’s accent, or if a request confused them, they would respond “That’s not my problem!” and burp out a short blast of disco music.
It comes as no surprise that the very next year, 1984, Cyndi Lauper released the music video for her song ‘She Bop,” in which men and women march in robotic single-file lines through a fastfood restaurent/drive-thru, while actual robotic arms and parts assembled burgers and squeezed mustard. The video is above. Enjoy! [Paleofuture via Neatorama, YouTube]