The sitcom, Cheers, probably would have been a lot less funny if the role of Sam the bartender had been played by an robotic, drink-pouring arm. I mean, sure, it can serve up glasses of chablis, but it probably can’t yell out “NORM!”
Reuters reports there’s a new robotic cocktail slinger in town, and it probably doesn’t know your name. At the Cyberdog cafe, which just opened in Prague this week, you aren’t clamoring among throngs of people, trying to get the attention of a disinterested bartender to order your drink. Instead, you place your order via a mobile phone app, and BUDY, an orange, articulating robot arm whirrs to life grabbing and opening bottles of wine, pouring them out and then loading the completed order on to a service tray, which travels overhead on rails before descending so you can pick up your drinks.
— Marcel Soural (@SouralMarcel) November 25, 2018
(h/t to The Washington Post for the tweet)
Robotic bartenders aren’t new. The Tipsy Robot bar in Las Vegas (of course) has been making robo-cocktails since July 2017, and at our Smart Kitchen Summit: Europe, FoodPairing’s robo-bartendar whipped up personalized boozy concoctions. Not to mention the home robo-bartending appliances hitting the market like Somabar and Bartesian.
Having worked at a bar, I can see why robots would be a bar owner’s best friend. They pour out precise amounts of liquor (no over-pouring), don’t call in sick and don’t steal from the till. Having patronized many a bar though, it seems like there is something lacking when a bar lacks humans. Bartenders are often funny, great conversationalists, and authentic sources of local information when traveling.
Cyberdog’s robot bartender may be a novelty now, but like its drink pouring robo-cousins Briggo and Cafe X (which just added iced drinks to its menu this week), the tireless, automated robotic precision will become common in high-traffic areas like airports, stadiums and anywhere else people want to grab a drink quickly, and faster service is something a lot of people would “cheers” for.