In a world controlled by technology, envisioning a world controlled by robots wouldn’t be thought of as improbable. In fact, the robotic kind are making their presence known by infiltrating the food and bar industry as we know it.
Robot preparing okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).
One of the first main sightings of robots in the service industry was in June, 2009, at the International Food Machinery and Technology Expo in Tokyo. The Expo featured a broad-shouldered MotoMan SDA-10 robot that had spatulas for arms and specialized in making Okonomiyaki for its participants. It was said that the quality of the food wouldn’t have eaters come back for more, but otherwise a commendable effort.
Robots aren't just preparing meals, but also offering snacks as well. With the help of his graduate students, Carnegie Mellon University professor, Paul Rybski, created “Snackbot”, a robot equipped with a laser navigation system, and sonar sensors, offer snacks to accepting passer byers. The Snackbot has been designed with an understanding of how robots interact with humans, rendering it “approchable”. Even the kind voice that may say things like, “all right, go ahead and take your snack. I’m sure it would be good, but I wouldn’t know. I prefer a snack of electricity”, was selected with great consideration.
A few weeks ago, San Francisco held "BarBot 2010" :event that celebrates robots and cocktail culture. Apart from serving margaritas and mojitos, these clever bots also have learned the social implications of being a bartender,from having to listen to the dilemmas of a customer or being a little 'friendly' in trying to get more in tips. The robots also know how to properly sling a drink across the bar counter like a professional. It's amazing to see how much a robot can do and how easy humans are replaceable. But, we're still not convinced that a robot can whip out a mean long island ice tea in 15 seconds flat, like bartender can. Plus, a robot wont ever be as attractive as the bartender that flirts with you at your favourite bar.
Check out the robots at BarBot 2010 convention working the bar:
Source & Photo credits: Various