MIT-Japan Program Internship Report: Sophia Cheung

As part of Telexistence’s effort to find the best talent from anywhere on the planet, we work with Master’s and PhD interns throughout the year. Sophia connected with us via the MIT-Japan Program and decided to relocate to Japan for six months to work together.

Background: MIT Master’s of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering, MIT Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Professional Interest and Experience in Product Design and Development.

Internship Period: August 2023 – February 2024

Team: Hardware Engineering, Retail Robotics

What did you pursue in your Master’s research, and how does it fit with what we do at TX?
I finished my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, under the Advanced Manufacturing and Design program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Under this program, I undertook coursework in product design, mechanical design and supply chain/operations management. For my thesis work, I collaborated with Texas Instruments, a semiconductor manufacturer, to develop tools – including machine learning models, hardware, and software – to improve semiconductor yield through better wafer defect detection.

I think a lot of the skills I’ve learned through my Master’s program and thesis project relate directly to projects I have been assigned at TX. On the design side, I’ve been tasked with mechanism design, test bench design, and conducting material characterization studies. Working at TX has allowed me to extend my abilities in designing for real world manufacturing standards and has helped me become even more familiar with the CAD software needed to achieve this.

Unexpectedly, I’ve also happened across a project where I get to utilize my manufacturing supply chain/inventory management knowledge through developing models for store operation. I think the skills I’ve learned and practiced at TX will most definitely relate to my future career as an engineer.

What is your biggest achievement or learning through this internship so far?
Of course, this internship has allowed me to refine my technical skills in mechanical engineering and design. But one of the biggest skill growth I’ve noticed in myself is cross-functional collaboration and cross-cultural communication. Being able to interact with Japanese vendors and experts has allowed me to develop my communication skills in Japanese, specifically the vocabulary/language needed for mechanical engineering/design engineers. In addition, on a broader note, this experience has taught me how to generally conduct business in Japan, which I think will be helpful in the future. I hope to work in the product design and manufacturing realm, and of course manufacturing technologies will continue to involve Japanese companies, so having this skill set will be an advantage in future collaborations.

What are the three words that best describe the TX team or culture?

Flexible: The company culture is incredibly flexible. There are no hard requirements regarding time to report to the office, or remote/hybrid/in-person, as long as the work is done and goals are achieved. This allows many of the employees to work at a time that is best for their lifestyle. In addition, the start-up phase of the company means the directives by project can vary quite a lot from week to week, sometimes the vision for a project can pivot; the team is really good at adjusting the workflow and being flexible to match the direction of the vision.

Goal-Oriented: This type of mindset reduces time wasted – the priority is that objectives are achieved and the milestones are met, so employees are free to work in the method that works best for them. This means there can be a reduction in time spent doing unnecessary tasks and red-tape/bureaucracy.

Diverse: The company is made up of many employees from different nationalities and backgrounds. It works well since it offers a well rounded team with many different problem-solving methods, and it is interesting to get to know each others’ previous experiences and learn from others.

Would you recommend TX as a place to have an internship and why?
Absolutely. It is rare to come across such a flexible and encouraging work environment, and as an intern, this means that you can pick and choose projects/tasks that best align with your goals and professional interests. Since the team is small, many of the tasks we work on have a direct impact on the actual deployed robot. The team is incredibly helpful and willing to share their expertise, so I never feel like I am asking too many questions, meaning I’m learning new things everyday.

Telexistence Raises USD 170M (JPY 23Bn) Series B

Announces new partnerships with SoftBank Robotics Group and Foxconn, accelerating its business expansion in North America and operational capabilities in mass production

Telexistence (“TX”) has successfully raised a USD 170M Series B round. In addition to the follow-on investments from the lead investors in previous funding rounds, including Monoful Venture Partners, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, and Airbus Ventures, TX has also secured funding from new investors including SoftBank Group Corp. (“SBG”), HH-CTBC Partnership (Foxconn Co-GP Fund), and Globis Capital Partners (“GCP”). TX also entered into a strategic business partnership agreement with SoftBank Robotic Group Corp. (“SBRG”), a subsidiary of SBG, to promote their business collaboration globally, with a focus on accelerating commercialization in North America. Additionally, TX will initiate its collaboration with Foxconn to establish production technology, carrying out mass production for its next-generation model, “GHOST”. With this funding, Mr. Kenichi “Kent” Yoshida (SBRG) and Mr. Ryohei Nomoto (GCP) will be newly appointed as directors.

Since its inception in 2017, TX has surged ahead from R&D and proof-of-concept with small-scale robots to deploying hundreds of its own robots in dynamic environments outside factories and executed at commercial scale. In 2021, TX announced a partnership with FamilyMart, one of the three major convenience store chains in Japan, through which the team is deploying its robots to 300 of FamilyMart’s stores.


“With the proud backing of our new partners SBG and Foxconn, TX increases its commitment to accelerate the rapid expansion of its existing robot operations and drive the development of robots with human-level versatility, which is the goal of anyone involved in robotics.“ said Jin Tomioka, CEO of Telexistence. “With this latest funding, we aim to amplify our search for top, diverse talent to enhance our global capabilities at scale.” Tomioka added, “Regardless of nationality, age, or length of tenure, TX believes that there are countless opportunities for individuals with demonstrated skills to thrive, and in fact, current team members hail from 25 different countries.  TX adheres to the organizational principle of providing compensation, including salaries and stock options, that is commensurate with performance to the greatest extent possible.”

 TX eagerly awaits the participation of professionals from around the world who share its mission and values.

Press Kit: Link

2022 Summer Intern Report: Shreyas Sharma

As part of Telexistence’s effort to find the best talent from anywhere on the planet, we work with Master’s and PhD interns throughout the year. Shreyas reached out to us in June 2022 showing his strong interest in the opportunity to work together. It took us only a couple of weeks to agree that it would be a great fit and to sign the internship agreement.

Background: Pursuing Master’s degree at the Graduate School of Engineering of Hokkaido University.

Internship Period: August – September 2022 (2 months)

Team: Mechatronics

What do you pursue in your Master’s, and how does it fit with what we do at TX?

I am a Master’s Student at the Graduate School of Engineering of Hokkaido University. I am working at the Smart Structures and Systems Laboratory in the Division of Human Mechanical System Designs and my research is focused on developing Compliant Grippers for robotics using SMA actuators. While developing the experimental system for my research I have come to realize that I have a large
knowledge gap specifically related to the low-level software development of robotics systems. For example, the SMA (Shape Memory Alloys) Actuators are really difficult to work with because right now there are not many reliable control methods for the systems, and in most cases, we have to develop our own low-level codes for it to work. I explained my situation to my manager during my interview and he explained that it would be a great opportunity for me to work on similar problem at TX. Converting this problem into a mutually beneficial opportunity I have been working with the Mechatronics Development Team at TX to develop low level codes that would eventually make the inter-modular communication much easier inside the robot. Since coming to TX, I have noticed an exponential growth in my knowledge of low-level software development, and that is most definitely going to help me a lot with my research.

What is your biggest achievement or learning through this internship so far? What challenges have you faced while working at TX and how did you overcome them?

I have yet to figure out my biggest achievement at TX as I am constantly working on better things every day and it gives me a sense of accomplishment every time! However, I do know that my biggest learning is not something Technical rather a soft skill. I have some work experience prior to shifting to higher studies and during that time I was under the impression that the idea of leadership and teamwork was directly related to one’s intrinsic ability to put up a façade while communicating with people. After coming to TX, I have realized that teamwork and leadership, in fact, need real personalities and that in turn makes communication much easier. I have learnt a lot from my team here at TX and I intend to use these learning all my life!
Coming to the challenges I have faced. I understand that I have a huge knowledge gap on the software side of robotics. While giving the interview I had communicated that to my manager with a lot of emphasis. As a result, he asked me to start working on low-level codes for the TX robot. This was definitely challenging to me. However, the way it turns out I started bombarding my colleagues with a million questions. One might expect the people to get tired of answering so many questions, instead I received a million answers in return. That built a very open and inclusive
environment which allowed me to try out different things with all the freedom without worrying about making a mistake. It never felt like I was working “for” someone, rather it was like we were all trying to come up with a solution together. That, in my honest opinion, is the definition of a healthy work
environment. And that is a basic requirement to overcome any challenges.

What are the three words that best describe TX team or culture?

I have been following TX’s progress over the years and it never fails to impress me. I was really awestruck by the videos they upload on YouTube. You could almost take me for a die-hard fan! I always wondered is it just for show or the company actually has a progressive mind set when it comes to
Research and Development in Robotics. Having worked in other robotics Start-ups I have built a keen and sceptic understanding. But when I actually saw the CTO, the CEO, Head of Mechatronics Engineering and all the other employees I realized that it was truly, in every sense of the word, Progressive.

As I explained before the people at TX are really open to questions and always ready for a conversation be it work or play. That makes for a really inclusive environment.
Well, this could be a biased opinion but I think TX is an incredible company that is working on state-of-the-art technology for a very difficult problem statement.

Would you recommend TX as a place to have an internship and why?

I would wholeheartedly recommend TX as a place for internship. The people here are very encouraging and never back down when you bombard them with questions, which is one of my bad habits. They make you feel involved and you get real hands-on experience which is really rare these days. I think for people who believe in taking the initiative and working on challenging problems TX is a very good place to start. This company can provide hands on experience over a wide range of technologies that are sometimes hidden away in research papers. It is really interesting to see the constant iterations of prototyping and product development cycle produce great Robots. Join TX and have fun while gaining tons of experience!

International Media Response to Telexistence’s Press Release on 300-Store Deployment (Online Media Coverage)

On August 10, 2022, Telexistence issued a press release regarding the installation of TX SCARA into 300 FamilyMart stores across Japan. The press release generated a tremendous response, and within a month of its release, media in at least 27 countries around the world carried the news in more than 80 original articles.

In addition, we counted more than 200 syndicated articles derived from media outlets such as the Associated Press and Bloomberg, as far as we could research. Below is a list of the major original articles.

DateMedia OutletArticleLink
8/12/2022AiIExpressRestocking robots deployed in 300 Japanese convenience stores
8/11/2022AiTimesAI robot part-time job’ appears in Japanese convenience stores
8/31/2022Associated PressRobot that stocks drinks is newest thing at the corner store
8/10/2022AZoRoboticsTelexistence Announces Mass Production of AI Robot to be Installed in Japan’s 300 FamilyMart Stores
8/9/2022Bloomberg NewsRobot Arms Are Replacing Shelf Stockers in Japan’s Stores
8/11/2022Business FocusLabor shortage Family Mart deploys robots to save 10 hours of staff cost per day
8/10/2022Business Insider JapanIntroduced Famima “AI display robot” to 300 stores nationwide in late August. How far will labor saving go?
8/10/2022Business Next MediaThe whole family in Japan introduces a replenishment robot! Strive to open thousands of unmanned stores in 2024 to solve the labor shortage
8/15/2022C&I – Convenience & Impulse RetailingRobots to restock shelves in Japanese convenience stores
8/26/2022CanaltechRobots will replace drinks on store shelves in Japan
8/9/2022CNET Japan[Telexistence] Launched nationwide introduction of artificial intelligence robot “TX SCARA” for FamilyMart
8/12/2022CNET JapanBeverage refilling robot-FamilyMart to introduce AI robot “TX SCARA” to 300 stores
8/10/2022Convenience StoreRobot shelf stackers introduced to Japanese convenience chain
8/11/2022CyberNewsRobots hired to stock shelves in Japan’s stores short of staff
8/15/2022Digital HungaryThe merchandisers in this chain of stores are being replaced by robots
8/23/2022DIMEFamilyMart introduces Telexistence’s beverage replenishment AI robot “TX SCARA” to 300 stores in urban areas
8/14/2022disruptivetechasia.comAI Flying Off the Shelves: Restocking Robot Rolls Out to Hundreds of Japanese Convenience Stores
8/16/2022EmerceExperiment met winkelrobot Delhaize krijgt een vervolg
9/1/2022Entrepreneur MagazineMeet the Robot in Tokyo Helping the Worker Shortage
8/10/2022FierceElectronicsTelexistence robots to restock shelves at convenience stores in Japan
8/29/2022ForbesForbes Asia 100 To Watch 2022
8/21/2022ForbesYou Can Now Use WhatsApp On Windows Without Your Phone…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week
9/1/2022Fox BusinessRobots that stock drinks at convenience stores aim to automate all ‘boring jobs done by humans’
8/29/2022Geeky.NewsJapan: Telexistence to install refill robots in 300 convenience stores
9/1/2022GermanicThe latest in the shop around the corner: a robot that has drinks in stock
8/20/2022Harian MetroRobots ‘change’ human workers
9/1/2022Hindustan TimesThis robot ‘works’ in convenience stores in Japan: All you need to know about TX SCARA
8/10/2022HipertextualThis Japanese robot can replace supermarket stockers
8/10/2022IceThe end for the employees of the marketing chains? A new development in Japan is already on the way
8/12/2022IEEE SpectrumVideo Friday: Robots Stock Up
8/9/2022Impress WatchFamima deploys 24-hour “convenience store display robots” to 300 stores
8/11/2022InforChannelNvidia-powered robots fill shelves in Tokyo
8/24/2022InforChannelStock replenishment robot arrives at hundreds of Japanese convenience stores
9/1/2022IoT World TodayDrink-Stocking Robots Help Convenience Store Chain
8/25/2022IT Forum 365Robots start working in convenience stores in Japan
8/9/2022IT Media“Beverage display robot” expands to 300 stores at Family Mart, aiming for “zero replenishment work by people”
8/19/2022iThomeRetail IT Bi-Weekly Report No. 6: The whole family in Japan introduces an automatic replenishment robot, which saves the labor of replenishing 1,000 bottles of beverages per day
8/10/2022Jiemian.comFamilyMart in Japan will use robots to automatically replenish stock, which can reduce the daily working hours of store staff by nearly 20%
8/11/2022Jornal da RecordConvenience stores in Japan start hiring robots as stockists
9/4/2022La PresseScientific news in small doses
9/5/2022Lega Nerd MagazineRobot salespeople stocking the shelves
9/14/2022Mundo en LíneaArtificial Intelligence helps to not run out of stock and better customer service in mini-markets
9/7/2022NACS ConvenienceThe TX SCARA takes on the routine task of restocking the beverage cooler amid a labor shortage.
8/12/2022Natural NewsRobots replacing shelf stockers in Japanese convenience store chain
8/9/2022New York PostA robotics company is hiring restocking robots in 300 grocery stores in Japan
8/10/2022Noticias RCNIn Japan they replace supermarket employees with a robot
8/10/2022O GloboThe end of the stockist: robots leave industrial warehouses and arrive at stores in Japan
8/18/2022Oddity CentralJapanese Convenience Stores Introduce AI-Powered Shelf-Stocking Robots
8/11/2022PetrolPlazaFamilyMart to deploy stocker robots across retail network in Japan
8/10/2022Popular Science300 Japanese stores will be reshelved by robot arms next month
8/10/2022Portal MieRobots will be used in FamilyMart stores to replenish shelves
8/10/2022Robotics & AutomationTelexistence to install AI re-stocking robots in 300 convenience stores across Japan
8/10/2022Robotics & InnovationTelexistence restocking robot rolls out to hundreds of Japanese convenience stores
8/11/2022Robotics 24/7Powered by NVIDIA’s AI, Telexistence Robots to Restock Japanese Convenience Stores
8/11/2022Rosario3This is how the robot that replaces the refrigerators of a supermarket works: it is being tested in an international chain
9/8/2022SanookJapan has started using robots to stock items at convenience stores.
8/11/2022Smart Cities ElectronicsAI flying off the shelves: Restocking robot rolls out to hundreds of Japanese convenience stores
8/15/2022SohuJapanese company deploys robots to help convenience stores restock, powered by
8/9/2022South China Morning PostRobot shelf-stackers replace human workers at FamilyMart stores in Japan
8/29/2022Synapse AIJapan: Telexistence will install replenishment robots in 300 convenience stores
8/11/2022TaxiJapanese Convenience Stores Employ Robots To Address Labor Shortage
8/10/2022Tech TimesJapanese Stores Deploy A Fleet of ‘AI-Driven Robots’ To Replace Shelf Stockers
8/14/2022Tech Wire AsiaRobots to restock FamilyMart shelves in Japan
8/12/2022TechableLeave beverage refilling to the AI ​​robot! Operation at 300 Family Mart stores from late August
8/19/2022TechbangLet the clerk concentrate on serving customers at the counter. FamilyMart in Japan has begun to introduce TX SCARA robots to replenish the shelves.
8/18/2022TechEBlogTelexistance Partners with Family Mart to Introduce AI Restocking Robots at 300 Convenience Stores in Japan
8/13/2022The China Press NewspaperTo solve the manpower shortage, the whole family in Japan introduces a replenishment robot
8/11/2022The Iola RegisterJapanese retailers use robots to stock shelves
8/17/2022The Retail OptimiserFamily Mart automates refrigerated shelves with Telexistence robots
8/12/2022The Robot ReportRestocking robots deployed in 300 Japanese convenience stores
8/11/2022The StandardStaff shortage is not a problem! FamilyMart will use ‘robots’ to fill chilled beverage shelves. substitute for human labor
8/15/2022The StandardConvenience stores in Japan employ robots as full-time employees. Solve the problem of labor shortage
9/1/2022The StandardMeet robot that stocks drinks in convenience store
8/22/2022Wonderful EngineeringJapanese Stores Have Introduced Automated Shelf-Stocking Robots – Powered By AI
9/8/2022Xtrend NikkeiFamima in a place like this? The big game of opening 1000 stores with an unmanned system
8/31/2022Yahoo FinanceRobots that stock drinks at convenience stores aim to automate all ‘boring jobs done by humans’
8/15/2022Yahoo News TaiwanRobot startup Telexistence helps Japanese convenience stores save manpower for restocking through NVIDIA technology
9/2/2022ZME ScienceCorner stores in Japan hire robot stackers to help keep shelves full on the cheap

2022 Summer Intern Report: Eleftherios Triantafyllidis (Elef)

As part of Telexistence’s effort to find the best talent from anywhere on the planet, we work with Master’s and PhD interns throughout the year. Elef reached out to us in March 2022 showing his strong interest in the opportunity to work together. Despite the complicated visa procedure and the entry restriction amid COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to successfully invite Elef from the UK.

Background: Pursuing PhD in Robotics with a focus on space Teleoperation and Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Edinburgh

Internship Period: July – October 2022

Team: Automation

What do you pursue in your PhD research, and how does it fit with what we do at TX?
In my PhD. I am investigating how different multi-sensory devices and multimodal sensory information, affect human perception and motor performance in VR/MR-based manipulation tasks, coupled with effective evaluation methods to help quantify and measure these. My future goal is not only to properly understand (and most importantly measure) how different multimodal interfaces affect human perception and by extent performance, but also how these could be translated to effective transferable skills for intelligent robots operating in complex environments via effective machine learning strategies such as imitation learning.As part of TX’s goal are to be present everywhere (Telepresence -> Telexistence), I believe my research is very closely entangled with the company’s goal of increasing operator’s immersion when operating telepresence/teleoperation robots.

What is your biggest achievement or learning through this internship so far?
I believe my biggest achievement is the development and conceptualisation of a simulation environment (ISAAC Sim), where TX’s Scara robot can operate in and aid not only be used internally in the company to test different methods without the need to operate the real robot first and also for the company to be able to present to external partners the goal of TX via an appropriate simulation. This will later potentially help the company communicate to external organisations and funders (without the need to physically travel) the company’s goal and future business plans. I hope this project will be used and presented at the upcoming IROS conference and I truly hope it will increase the company’s exposure to the robotics and wider community. This was all achieved thanks to my colleagues helping at every step of the way (automation) and also their support when issues arose. The weekly follow-up meetings with my team are a very good opportunity to discuss and brainstorm with each other about our potential technical problems which are always very nicely solved via everyone’s collective feedback.

What are the three words that best describe the TX team or culture?
Teamwork: The ability to approach others within the company and one’s own team freely when problems or technical issues arise. I think this can be attributed to and is in virtue of TX’s work environment and the absence of a “strict hierarchy”, as anyone can approach others and collectively work together to solve any potential problems in a very friendly and professional environment.
Freedom: The ability to choose how to accomplish a given task so long as the end-goal task is achieved. For example, after agreeing upon a set of end-goals with one’s supervising manager at TX, there are very common occasions where the employee can find alternatives to achieve the goal that is very much welcomed by the company. In essence, you are free to work in any way you would like and choose the “road” to the end-goal freely, so long as you are aware of the timeline and the expected results that your manager and by extent the company expects.
Responsibility: Each employee is responsible for a given task. I believe Freedom and Responsibility are very closely related words here. In my case, I feel that I am responsible for my given tasks and I am given the freedom to work and achieve them in my own way. It is my firm believe that this is undoubtedly a motivating factor that builds upon creativity and I personally find it incredibly helpful to work efficiently and with excitement.

Would you recommend TX as a place to have an internship and why?
I most certainly would. TX is a perfect place for anyone looking to have the freedom of working independently and simultaneously as a member of a team, with the freedom of choice of completing an agreed-upon longer-term goal, so long as that person takes responsibility. This I believe, is a fundamental pillar of success for any company allowing their employees the freedom to pursue their own projects, timelines and milestones, so long as those are agreed upon by the respective managers to align them with the company’s goal. Finally, as the company is based in Japan which I am very amazed by and really like, it very nicely blends the work environment with a place that I really like living in.

[JOINT RELEASE] Telexistence to Begin Installing AI Robot “TX SCARA” in 300 FamilyMart Stores

Telexistence and FamilyMart today announced the mass deployment of its originally developed AI robot “TX SCARA” and the in-store task analysis system “TX Work Analytics” into 300 FamilyMart stores starting later this month.

Reducing Store Expenses and Achieving Higher Quality Store Operations with “TX SCARA” and “TX Work Analytics”

TX SCARA was created to do the specific task of restocking refrigerated shelves with bottles and cans, a repetitive, tedious job generally performed by employees in often uncomfortable settings. TX SCARA operates 24/7, replenishing shelves to completely removes the task from the store staff. The introduction of Telexistence robots and its AI system will create time surplus without adding employees, and the time can be reallocated to customer service and shop floor enhancement, leading to higher quality work environment and store operations.

Bundled with the robot, Telexistence will also introduce the workflow analysis tool “TX Work Analytics” into FamilyMart stores. By having store staff wear the location information transmitter, this tool visualizes the types of in-store tasks and workload by time of day. TX Work Analytics will enable optimization of work schedules and staff allocation in the environment where the AI robot performs the shelf restocking tasks in the back storage areas.

The implementation of AI robots in FamilyMart stores will allow retailers to take advantage of the newly created time and economic surplus in the store environment. Retailers can focus on further improvements in the store environment for both employees and customers, as well as the profitability of each store.

See Telexistence Press Kit for more photos.

Telexistence to Install AI Restocking Robots in 300 Convenience Stores Across Japan; Validation of technology by Japan’s top-tier convenience store chain sets stage for expansion of ‘robot-as-a-service’ solution in the U.S.

Telexistence Inc. today announced the mass production of its originally developed artificial intelligence robot, TX SCARA, to be installed in 300 FamilyMart stores, Japan’s top-tier convenience store chain in major metropolitan areas, starting later this month, validating its AI-based “robot-as-a-service” solution for grocery retailers.

TX SCARA was created to do the specific task of restocking refrigerated shelves with bottles and cans, a repetitive, tedious job generally performed by employees in often uncomfortable settings. TX SCARA can be in operation 24/7, replenishing shelves at a pace of up to 1,000 bottles and cans per day, relying almost completely on its AI system (known as “GORDON”) to know when and where products need to be placed on the shelves. 

The implementation of AI robots in FamilyMart stores will allow retailers to take advantage of the newly created time and economic “surplus” in the store environment. Retailers can focus on further improvements in the store environment for both employees and customers, as well as the profitability of each store.

Tomohiro Kano, General Manager of Store Development Department and Railway and Corporate Franchisee Department, of FamilyMart, commented, “The decline in Japan’s labor population is one of the key management issues for FamilyMart to continue stable store operations. The introduction of Telexistence robots into FamilyMart stores will eliminate the need for store employees to replenish beverages in refrigerators, and the newly created time can be reallocated to customer service and shop floor enhancement, leading to higher quality store operations.”

Kano concluded, “We will continue to work with Telexistence to create a new way to operate stores.”

This initiative is a small step toward realizing Telexistence’s mission of improving all simple labor workflows in human society with robots. Telexistence is promoting this initiative based on a collaboration with NVIDIA and Microsoft Japan. Specifically, NVIDIA GPU-accelerated AI technologies are embedded in hardware originally developed by Telexistence to provide AI and remote control of robots via Microsoft Azure platform.

“Currently, the greatest limiting factor for any industry, in any nation, is human resources. Especially in developed countries like Japan, the shortage of human labor is rapidly becoming apparent in the retail and logistics industries, which support human life in society,” said Jin Tomioka, CEO of Telexistence. “We are promoting large-scale production and social implementation of our robots for industries other than factory automation, industries that function as the infrastructure for daily life in society. We also will bring our automated labor solutions to other regions, such as the United States.” Tomioka added, “Telexistence’s robots will become a powerful influence, providing a virtually inexhaustible supply of new labor. The new surplus resources will be appropriately redistributed through market mechanisms, and in the long run, this can lead to the transition of human society to be significantly augmented by automated labor.”

TX SCARA is autonomous with GORDON during normal operation. In rare cases where the AI encounters issues due to miscalculation or external factors such as an item falling or being out of place, remotely located Telexistence employees using VR glasses take control of the robot to correct issues across stores. Each TX SCARA can replace one to three hours every dayof human work at a single store.

The market potential for TX SCARA is vast. In Japan alone, there are 16,000 FamilyMart convenience stores, plus approximately 40,000 more from other convenience store chains. Telexistence next plans to expand to convenience stores in the U.S., where more than half of consumers say they visit one of the country’s 150,000 convenience stores at least once a month.

“Moving from proof-of-concept to mass production of 300 remotely-operated robots with deep AI capabilities is a major step forward,” notes Dr. Lewis Pinault, Airbus Ventures Partner based in Tokyo. “As an early investor of Telexistence, we are thrilled to see the company’s diverse, richly talented team begin to take flight, rolling out their advanced technology across Japan and activating new channels in support of their future expansion in North America.”

Masataka Osaki, Japan Country Manager & VP of Corporate Sales, NVIDA:
“Entire industries are transforming as customers build their next generation of robotics and edge AI applications on NVIDIA platforms. Aiming to empower retailers to address labor shortages, Telexistence’s robotics solution, powered by NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated technologies, will enhance experiences for both retail customers and employees.”

Tomoko Mikami, Managing Executive Officer, Small Medium & Corporate Business, Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd.:
“Microsoft Japan will be collaborating globally with Telexistence in terms of cloud platform and business development in the implementation of Artificial Intelligent Robotics for qualitative improvement of industry, as promoted by Telexistence. We are pleased that our platform can contribute to this project, and Microsoft will continue to support the project to make a significant impact not only in the Japanese market but also on a global scale.”

<Technical Collaborator Details>

Main initiatives powered by NVIDIA

■ Improvement of TX SCARA’s eye and brain functions utilizing NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform

TX SCARA is powered with the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 module on the head unit which is utilized to transmit video inputted from the camera. Furthermore, the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier module installed at the foot unit attains autonomous operation functions using AI. For example, the TX SCARA is designed with a strong arm and a camera angle so that the same robot hand can grab all types and shapes of beverages sold at convenience stores. Furthermore, NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier improves functionality by running image recognition neural networks in parallel, such as recognizing optimal gripping points that differ from beverage to beverage.

■ NVIDIA DGX Station improves recognition accuracy of GORDON

TX SCARA monitors beverage inventory availability 24 hours a day. While receiving this, the AI system “GORDON” predicts and schedules product-display timing and instructs TX SCARA to refill beverage stock. NVIDIA DGX Station, an AI workstation, was adopted as the training environment for GORDON. By simulating product displays in a variety of patterns, it can create an efficient and optimum image recognition model.

■ Smooth remote operation and prevention of VR sickness

If the AI display fails because of an unanticipated environmental change, TX SCARA will shift to Telexistence mode (remote control) and a remote-control operator will make corrections via VR operation. “VR sickness” can occur when there is a misalignment between vision and body senses because of delay in 3D video transmission. In order to prevent this, the system uses NVIDIA’s powerful GPU-accelerated compute capabilities for advanced image processing performance, which enables video transmission at a maximum speed of 50 milliseconds (*).

*: The amount of time (including network delay) that elapses between when the video is inputted into the robot camera and when it is displayed at the operator’s display. A “millisecond” is a thousandth of a second.

Main initiatives powered by Microsoft Japan

TX has selected Microsoft Azure as the cloud platform for the robot solution service by TX SCARA and is using it for the robot’s task management system.

■ Microsoft Azure used by GORDON to make task decisions

The inventory information scanned by TX SCARA, which monitors beverage inventory 24 hours a day, is captured by Azure’s cloud system as digital twin information, and the AI system GORDON uses this information to predict the optimal beverage display based on past sales trends at each store and demand by time of day. The AI system “GORDON” then predicts the optimal beverage display based on past sales trends and demand by time of day and determines the next task (*) to be executed by TX SCARA and give instructions.

*: A task is a display task such as “Pick up products from point A and place them at point B.”

■ Database to Minimize Out-of-Stock Merchandise

TX SCARA’s cloud system by Microsoft Azure maintains and manages a database (*) of sales trends at each convenience store where TX SCARA operates. This enables TX SCARA to predict and execute optimal display tasks calculated from current inventory information scanned by TX SCARA in real time and accumulated historical sales trends, thereby minimizing out-of-stocks in stores.

*: Data on products displayed, date and time of display, and number of units.

■ Collaboration in the U.S. Market Entry

TX and Microsoft will strengthen our cooperation in business development overseas, especially in the U.S. market, by leveraging Microsoft’s global corporate customer network and its global startup support program.

Telexistence is strengthening its R&D, Business Operations, and Corporate organizations to move forward at an accelerated pace as the business enters a growth stage. Please see below for current open positions.

  • Head of Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Robotics Automation Perception Engineer
  • Robot Maintenance Engineer
  • Robot Systems Engineer (Deployment Engineer)
  • Robot VR Operator
  • Finance Lead
  • Accounting Manager
  • Sourcing & Procurement Manager

See Careers Page for more details about each position.

See Telexistence Press Kit for more photos.

Telexistence to Begin Proof of Concept to Introduce Its New Robot into Logistics Facilities; Partnership with Nichirei Logistics and SENKO

Telexistence Inc. (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Jin Tomioka; hereafter TX) , Nichirei Logistics Group, Inc. (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Kazushiko Umezawa; hereafter Nichirei Logistics), and SENKO Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Kita-ku, Osaka; President: Yasuhisa Fukuda; hereafter SENKO) jointly started a proof of concept for the introduction of TX robot to the logistics facilities of Nichirei Logistics and SENKO, with the aim of developing new logistics operations centered on hybrid control robot technology that combines automatic control by TX’s proprietary AI system with remote control by operators.

Video: Demonstration of the TX robot at the Logistics Network Higashi Ogishima Distribution Center, taken on March 1, 2022

As a first step, a demonstration was conducted today in the refrigerated area of a Nichirei Logistics distribution facility, where TX’s remote-controlled robot performed mixed loading onto a basket cart. In addition, a demonstration test is scheduled for the fall of 2022 at SENKO’s logistics facility for a major retailer network.

TX robot for logistics facilities consists of a collaborative robot arm, an AGV (Autonomous Guided Vehicle), an end-effector, and a remote-control system (*1). General palletizing/de-palletizing robots require anchoring to the floor, which limits the robot’s operating location or requires additional material handling equipment to the process before or after the robot’s work. On the other hand, TX robot is equipped with an AGV and a remote-control system, and all power is supplied from the AGV’s built-in battery, so they can be operated in different locations or can perform tasks that require movement. Also, the remote-control operator visually checks the object to grasp and the stacking location. This allows for optimal grasping and placement according to case size. Even when complex tasks are required, such as cold-covered basket carts, the robot can perform mixed stacking while maintaining optimal loading efficiency.
(*1) Collaborative robot arms and AGVs are manufactured by third-party manufactures.

TX aims to leverage its Augmented Workforce Platform (AWP) (*2) to verify the improvement of the working environment and productivity in the logistics industry, where labor costs are soaring and chronic labor shortages are becoming more serious, by having the robot replace the work in refrigerated areas that place a heavy burden on human body.  Solving labor issues in the logistics industry through AWP is an initiative consistent with TX’s corporate mission of liberating workers from all physical labor tasks. TX will continue working toward full-scale implementation of its robots into logistics facilities.
(*2) a platform that enables robot control with an optimal mixture of remote-control and automated control by AI

Nichirei Logistics focuses on operational innovation to address labor shortages, reduce the burden on workers, and make on-site work “doable by anyone,” and is building an optimal work system that takes advantage of the characteristics of both humans and machines. In this PoC, robots placed in the refrigerated area will be remote-controlled by operators from the office to verify the possibility of remote work and construction of a stress-free work environment in distribution center operations. Nichirei Logistics will continue to actively promote the introduction of cutting-edge technologies and the digitization of operations to realize sustainable logistics that support our customers’ supply chains.

SENKO introduced a depalletizing arm robot in 2014 and has since been actively introducing AGVs and other labor-saving equipment. The most important feature of TX robot is its mobility. Unlike conventional robots that are difficult to move once installed, TX robot can move according to the convenience of the business, dramatically increasing the operating time of the robot. Also, the constant monitoring by operators via remote-control system will enable quick response to problems. In addition, resolving labor shortages in warehouse operations is an urgent issue. SENKO aims to reduce burdensome manual loading and unloading tasks especially during summer by introducing robots, while at the same time providing people with a work-life balance and a way of working that is not limited by time or location.

■ Outline of Proof of Concept by Nichirei Logistics and TX
1. Date                 : March 4, 2022
2. Location            : Logistics Network Inc. Higashi-Ogishima Distribution Center (100% subsidiary of Nichirei Logistics)

Press Kit:TX Press Kit 2022.03.04 Logistics PoC

< Nichirei Logistics Group Inc.>(
Nichirei Logistics Group Inc. consists of a logistics network business centered on transportation and delivery, TC, and 3PL; a regional storage business that handles refrigerated warehouse functions; overseas operations in Europe, China, and ASEAN countries; and an engineering business that handles everything from planning, design, and construction to maintenance management of refrigerated facilities. It is a No. 1 low-temperature logistics company group in Japan. Our goal is to spread the high-quality low-temperature logistics we have cultivated as a global standard.
Address:                        6-19-20 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Representative:              Kazuhiko Umezawa, President
Date of Inception:           April 1, 2005

<SENKO Co., Ltd.>(
SENKO Co., Ltd. offers a wide range of services, including rail &  marine transportation, warehousing, in-plant logistics, and international logistics, with nationwide network car transportation at its core. We support our customers in building SCM with logistics systems that make full use of the latest IT, including comprehensive services at distribution centers with multiple functions such as storage, delivery, distribution processing, and information distribution, as well as the design and operation of optimal systems that lead to efficiency in logistics.
Address:                        1-1-30 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka City
Representative:              Yasuhisa Fukuda, President
Date of Inception:          April 15, 2016

Telexistence develops a new robot TX SCARA and installs it at FamilyMart METI Store. Automating backyard beverage stocking operations with a proprietary AI system.

Telexistence Inc. (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Jin Tomioka; hereafter TX) and FamilyMart Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Kensuke Hosomi; hereafter FamilyMart) introduced a new robot TX SCARA equipped with TX’s proprietary AI system Gordon to the “FamilyMart METI store” to perform beverage replenishment work in the backyard 24 hours a day in place of human workers, thereby automating high-volume work in a low-temperature environment where the physical load on store staff is significant.

TX SCARA is a self-developed SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robot that can operate in a small space in a store’s backyard.  It is automatically controlled by Gordon during normal operation. In the event of a restocking failure, the robot can be switched to Telexistence mode, which allows an operator to control the robot remotely through the Internet for quick recovery. In addition, “Gordon” learns from the store’s past sales data to optimize the replenishment timing according to product sales trends that change with time of day and season. Through the use of robotics and AI technology, robots will take over the task of restocking about 1,000 beverages a day, 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, store staff will be able to stay in the shop floor to perform higher value-added tasks such as customer service.

[Main Technical Features]

  • TX SCARA: A self-developed robot with optimized joint axis configuration and link length for beverage replenishment in the convenience store backyards. The hardware can be installed without changing the backyard environment of existing stores.
  • Gordon: TX’s proprietary AI system that uses a self-scanning module to recognize the product availability on the shelf. It also calculates the beverage gripping point and generates a path plan for the end-effector from gripping to placing.
  • Telexistence Mode: When the automatic restocking fails due to unexpected environmental changes, the system shifts from Gordon mode (automatic control mode) to Telexistence mode. The restocking operation can be completed 100% by remotely controlling the robot via the Internet. The so-called “The Frame Problem” of AI (see note) and the imperfections of artificial intelligence are supplemented by TX’s teleoperation technology.

The Frame Problem: When solving a given task, the current artificial intelligence extracts only the information necessary for the current decision or action from the countless events that can occur in the real world, and ignores the other information in its attempts. The problem is, however, that it cannot autonomously determine what information is necessary for itself and what information it can ignore, and thus the extraction process takes infinite time.

Through the operation of the FamilyMart METI Store, FamilyMart and TX will automate and remoteize  shelr restocking work, which requires a large amount of man-hours and places a heavy burden on humans. It will enable a new store operation where store staff can work via robots from anywhere, safely, as long as there is Internet access. At the same time, TX and FamilyMart will continue to build an environment that is easy to introduce robots (a robot-friendly environment), thereby accelerating the improvement of productivity, non-contact, and customer convenience.

This initiative is also part of the “Task Force to Promote the Construction of Robot Implementation Models” led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, in which FamilyMart participates since November 2019, aiming to reduce the number of workers in stores and build a new store operation infrastructure using robots.

Based on the concept of “FamilyMart, Where You Are One of the Family,” FamilyMart aims to be an indispensable place that goes beyond convenience, while staying close to the community and connecting with each customer like a family member.

TX is a robotics company that develops remote controlled robots with artificial intelligence, with the mission to change robots, change the structure, and change the world. Gathered by high expertise professionals from all over the world, the engineering team consistently develops robotic hardware, software and AI technology in-house. TX aims to expand the scope of robotics activities beyond the factory floor and transform the fundamental nature of labor society.

■Store Information
Name: Family Mart METI Store
Address: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Building, 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Store Hours: 7:00 〜 24:00

Press Kit for News Organizations

Telexistence raises $20M (22-oku JPY) in Series A2 round of funding. Pioneering an Augmented Workforce Platform with Aims to Transform Retail and Logistics Industries; Expanding Product Development Team

Telexistence Inc. (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Jin Tomioka; hereafter “TX”), a leading innovator of remote-controlled robots with artificial intelligence, raised approximately $20M in a Series A2 funding round with multiple investors, led by a group company of Monoful Inc (hereafter “Monoful”).

In addition to existing investors – Monoful, Airbus Ventures, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, DEEPCORE and UTokyo IPC, several new investors participated in this round as underwriters (new investors are undisclosed). With the completion of the Series A funding round, TX has raised approximately $41M in total funding since its inception in 2017, and plans to use the funds to expand its product development team and accelerate product development and implementation for its expanding customer base in the retail store and logistics sectors.

Through this latest financing round, Monoful and TX have strengthened their partnership to further develop and implement the Augmented Workforce Platform (AWP) for logistics warehouse operations. AWP is a platform that enables workers in logistics warehouses to provide labor without being physically present at the warehouse. By providing AWP, TX is building a foundation that will allow workers to participate in the global labor market with greater convenience, safety, and cost-effectiveness. Through this effort, TX is preparing for the trial introduction of a remote-controlled robot to existing logistics warehouses under a partnership with one of the largest logistics providers in Japan. 

Currently, robots (especially industrial robots) are mainly used only in automaker factories and via general electric manufacturers. TX aims to expand the scope of robotics activities beyond the factory, transforming the fundamental nature of society. Ultimately, TX aims to create a society in which humans are connected, interacting, and evolving through network structures on multiple spatial and temporal scales.

To achieve this goal, TX will emphasize on: 

  • Innovation that evolves ideas into practical, credible reality rather than new inventions
  • Quick productization rather than a series of prototypes
  • Engineering concrete products for the world rather than research to find new discoveries
  • Action-oriented doers rather than deep thinkers
  • Practitioners who take on the challenge of solving real social problems rather than theorists who discover new laws in the field of research

TX will further strengthen the organization by seeking the most talented people from across the globe who share these aspirations.