Cutting-edge robots costing triple figures now posses the fine motor skills to achieve the most impressive feats for humankind, such as serving a cool, quenching beverage.
Cutting-edge robots costing triple figures now posses the fine motor skills to achieve the most impressive feats for humankind. Reverse global warming? Open-heart surgery? Combust Britney Spears? No. Their designers haven’t overlooked that perhaps the most obvious and desirable of chores a robot can perform for its master is to provide a cool, quenching beverage.
Honda’s Asimo humanoid robot now fetches favoured refreshments. It can grip and carry a tray of drinks and place it on a table. It can also push a drinks cart weighing 10 kilograms. Whilst carting a keg is out for now, that’s a fair few Long Island Teas.
Asimo is reportedly (by Yahoo News) leasable in Japan for 20 million yen annually.
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But why stop at a couple of drinks when you can get the whole bar? Motoman’s Robobar ($US200 000) is a complete, self-contained robotic bar that serves the usual desirables including draft beer, wine and mixed spirits.
The Robobar’s two arms have multiple axes of motion and rotation. The hand consists of a pair of parallel grippers.
The thirsty patron uses a magnetic card scanner to provide payment, then uses a touch-screen to order. Motoman then selects a cup, fills it with the appropriate drink (including ice, if desired) and passes it over by ‘hand’.
Motoman clams Roboman out-pours and outperforms a human barperson, saying “Robobar doesn’t take tips, is never late for work and doesn’t get tired. Plus, it doesn’t drink on the job or dip into the till. Also, smoke doesn’t bother the robot”. Perhaps, but can it shake up a Singapore Sling? And can you cry on its shoulder without being electrocuted?