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Office security firm Taisei has developed T-frend, a drone that aims to combat overtime work.
T-frend is Taisei’s collaboration project with drone system developer Blue Innovation and telecommunications operator NTT East Japan. A Taisei representative said that the innovation is a response to concerns pertaining to employees’ excessive overtime work.
The drone works by hovering over employees while playing Auld Lang Syne [AWLD lang ZAHYN], a tune used to signal store or office closing. The distraction is expected to impede concentration, forcing the employees to end their tasks.
The drone is equipped with sensors that allow autonomous movement and navigation around the office while maintaining a certain flying height. In addition, its security features can capture and store footage through its camera and memory card, respectively.
T-frend’s developers are also looking into the feasibility of incorporating a facial recognition feature into the drone to identify employees who frequently work overtime. This function will also enable T-frend to detect intruders, giving the device a dual purpose.
The drone was first unveiled last December, but it will be out on the market in April 2018. According to Taisei director Norihiro Kato, the drone is expected to cost around ¥500,000.
While the technology looks promising, T-frend was not well-received by some critics. Some perceived the drone as a preposterous idea. They said that it will not effectively address the issue of overtime work because it will only add up to the pressure of getting tasks done at a certain time. What needs to be done, according to critics, is to lessen the employees’ workload and time allocation for mundane tasks.