Smithsonian Magazine tells the story of a robot waiter named Ken-chan, who used to serve tables at Grazie’s Italian Restaurant in Tokyo. The robot followed the trend of other robot servers, was released in 1985, and cost the restaurant owner $43,000 (about $86,000 adjusted for inflation). Ken-chan drew quite a crowd despite his limited functionality: the 4-foot tall robot could only speak 15 programmed phrases and was controlled via a corded remote control. Rather than becoming the face of a robot movement to "free millions from the drudgery of menial service jobs," when the hype died down poor Ken-chan was left to collect dust in a corner, sharing the fate of so many forgotten toys. Are we doomed to rely on humans for our pancakes forever?