You’ve all seen the robot vacuum cleaner, the Roomba. You know, the little saucer that whirs around the house sucking up crumbs with a mind of its own (and occasionally having an affair with Buster Bluth). Sure, it’s a bit gimmicky, but it excels at the job of a robot – it makes life’s little chores a whole lot easier.
Well, if you’re willing to let a robot clean your house, would you be willing to let one mix your cocktails? That was the thinking that led Ben Schaefer, a mechatronics engineer, to create Carl, the robotic bartender, who works at Roberts Bar and Lounge in Ilmenau, Eastern Germany.
Carl can mix up precision measured drinks at the customers request, and, like any good bartender, even indulge in small talk. Of course, there’s no telling whether or not his electronic ears are as sympathetic to your sorrows as your fleshier hometown bartender.
Carl was constructed out of unused industrial robot parts salvaged from a German firm KUKA, and maneuvers with the help sensors that help him stay upright and prevent him from spilling drinks on his loyal customers. He has limbs and a torso that resemble the human body, and his artificial intelligence even attempts to replicate the way the human mind thinks.
“On this system, you can let your imagination run wild, because each step makes our robot a bit more human,” Shaefer told The French Tribune. Mr. Schaefer said his company aims to bring humanoid robots closer to reality and prove that helpful androids aren’t just a sci-fi trope. Commander Data would be pleased.
For now, Carl is mostly a tourist attraction whose customers come from far and wide to have a drink served up by the programmed professional, but putting Carl to work in a real life atmosphere helps to improve the robot’s functions much easier than trying to figure out problems in a laboratory.
But the best part about a robotic bartender? No need to tip, so more money for booze! Cheers!