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Independent living community is turning to robots to fill staffing needs

Robots could fill positions they've had open for years.

AUSTIN, Texas — An independent living community is using a robot to help with their staffing shortage. 

Sunday brunch at Longhorn Village life plan community came with an extra helping hand, or should I say pair of wheels. 

"I was totally surprised," said resident Roseanne Palin. "The first night it came rolling down, I went, 'oh my gosh, R2D2, what is this?'"

"I am excited to share with you our new robot," said CEO Deidre Kinsey. "He has recently been named Levo by our residents, kind of a spin-off on Bevo." 

Kinsey brought in the robot to hook their horns into the staffing issue at their independent living dining halls. 

"As we came out of the pandemic needing to build up that staff, that's where the need to say, 'Hey, what are what are we going to do?' We need to be on a fast track with things like robots," said Kinsey.

The robot, created by Richtech Robotics, works by control. You place the food on the stand, type in the destination and once it arrives, the waitress puts the food onto the table. 

"That way, we are not always having to carry trays, walk around with tray stands and it makes the time go by faster," said dining service manager Emily Hart. 

The innovation and helpfulness are why Pailin loves Levo. 

"When I was in college, I did this as a part-time job," said Pailin." I know how hard they work." 

For two weeks, Levo has been helping lift the burden. Not only does it bring food, but it sings happy birthday, as well. Kinsey said they plan to bring more robotic help to clean off the tables and sweep the floors.

"There's now a high demand for the robot called dusty," said Kinsey. "So we're on that list." 

The robots could eventually replace a staff member or two and, in some cases, fill positions that have been open for over seven years. 

"Our intention is never really to replace humans, "said Kinsey. "Our business is about interacting with our residents." 

From Levo's view, the interactions are savored, especially when the meals look this good.

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