It’s the stones. They move like magic in Truebird‘s robot barista demo video, gliding across a glass surface to cradle and transport cups of coffee and lattes to waiting customers (go ahead and watch it down below, it’s mesmerizing). We’ve seen our fair share of coffee robots here at The Spoon, and at first glance, Truebird’s appears to be the least robotic.

We can’t tell you much about Truebird because not much has been written and they aren’t giving much information away. But they are a food (well, coffee) robot company, and food robots and automation are poised to drastically change how we buy our daily meals and beverages. So Truebird is a company we’ll keep an eye on, but for now, here’s what we do know:

Truebird creates automated micro-cafes, similar to Briggo and Cafe X. From the company’s Linkedin page:

We are for the busy people who love and appreciate high quality coffee, and are increasingly curious about where it comes from, and the caring hands that touched it. Through our micro-cafes, Truebird is a serene destination that provides a treat in the form of delicious coffee and a more elevated experience – but delivered efficiently, conveniently, and at a fair price for the busy individual on the move.

Truebird piloted its prototype for three months at New Lab in Brooklyn, and the company’s site says “The next Truebird evolution is coming to select NYC locations later this year.”

Truebird is backed by AlleyCorp, a New York based incubator that also backed MongoDB, DoubleClick and Business Insider.

Like Cafe X and Briggo, Truebird isn’t just about the robotics. It’s also focused on quality coffee. The company lists its own coffee program manager as an employee, but how involved in the coffee part of the equation is it? Is it like Briggo, which roasts its own beans, or more like Cafe X which highly curates the coffee it offers?

We reached out to Truebird to find out more, and will update when we hear back.

What is apparent is that each of these robot coffee companies is creating its own form factor and presenting its version of automation to customers in different ways. Cafe X has its articulating arm front and center and theatricality is part of its design. Briggo’s Coffee Haus, on the other hand hides all the complex machinery. If Truebird’s prototype is any indication, its robotics are more subtle (and with the stones perhaps even more artful), but are also meant to be watched in action.

The question is how fast those stones will be able to move. The whole point of a robot-barista is to sling drinks of consistent quality in high-traffic areas, like airports. While the stones are hypnotic, they won’t calm an impatient commuter waiting on their caffeine. Truebird, however, seems to recognize this, as its own copy reads that it’s for the “busy individual on the move.”

Busy individuals who are curious about the future of robot-made coffee should come to our ArticulATE food robot summit happening on April 16 in San Francisco. We’ll have the Founder and CTO of Briggo as well as the COO of Cafe X speaking, so it’s sure to be something you won’t want to miss!

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