In addition to making your smoothie, Blendid’s robot will now hold it for you until you are ready to pick it up.
The company posted a video to Linkedin yesterday showing a variety of drinks on its counter. Amidst the colorful assortment of drinks are two small, relatively flat U-shaped brackets. In the video (below) you can see the brackets slide around the surface, pushing drinks into the pickup area.
We’re already seeing an acceleration of interest in food robotics like Blendid’s because of their capabilities and contactless nature. Blendid’s robot can make nine drinks simultaneously, up to 45 drinks per hour and work around the clock. All the ingredients are kept behind glass and sealed away from people, and having a robot slinging drinks means that there is one less human to be a vector for viral transmission.
Blendid is a little ahead of its automated vending bretheren when it comes to contactless retail. In addition to the robot preparing the drinks, ordering is done by mobile phone. Other robot vending services like Chowbotics still rely on touchscreens on the machine itself, which is obviously problematic during a pandemic as dozens of people use the machine in a day.
The addition of Blendid’s hold feature adds another nice bit of social distancing to the company’s offering. Being able to order ahead and have the drink held means customers all don’t need to stand around the machine to order and then wait for their drinks at the same time.
Another interesting bit about Blendid’s new hold feature is how it’s similar to the pucks used by Truebird’s robot coffee barista. Rather than having a robot arms pick up and move drinks around, Blendid’s brackets glide across the counter, sliding drinks into place.
Given that the pandemic is still going strong throughout much of the country, I expect we will continue to see small iterations like Blendid’s across the automated vending space to create even more contactless experiences.
For more on the automated vending machine market, check out my recent report on The Great Vending Reinvention: The Spoon’s Smart Vending Machine Market Report (Spoon Plus Membership required).