A drone that blares a “closing” song will soon hover above employees who work late in Japan, forcing them to go home and finally give themselves much-needed rest.
Unveiled on December 7, “T-Frend” will buzz over late-working employees and blast “Auld Lang Syne,” a Scottish tune used in Japan to announce that a store is closing.
Developed by Blue Innovation with office security firm Taisei and telco operator NTT East, the drone comes with a camera that enables real-time monitoring from a remote location.
It also knows where it is even without GPS, taking off to fly on a pre-set path and returning by itself.
Norihiro Kato, director at Taisei, told AFP (via Japan Today):
“You can’t really work when you think ‘it’s coming over any time now,’ and hear ‘Auld Lang Syne’ along with the buzz.”
T-Frend has no official price tag yet, but Kato noted a “target” of around 500,000 yen ($4,500) per month.
Interestingly, developers are also thinking about packing T-Frend with facial recognition technology so that it can tell who’s still working after certain hours and identify possible intruders.
For now, many Japanese companies are relying on bans to control overwork. Such attempts to relax labor conditions gathered pace after the suicide of a 24-year-old advertising employee in December 2015.
Dentsu, the deceased employee’s company, started implementing a “lights out, no work policy” from 10:00 P.M. in October 2016. Others have effected bans from 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., The Japan Times noted.