AI Robot Bartender
Interactive, LED, Mechanical, Product Design
Here at Smooth we take fun very seriously: our annual holiday party is no joke. But often the fate of a good host is being too busy to enjoy the party, so in 2019 we built our first robotic bartender (Arthur) to help out with party-hosting duties. Our barbot’s wacky features are upgraded yearly & too complex to name, but usually include some form of user identification, a panoply of drinkable offerings, and a truckload of personality.
The first iteration of Arthur was dressed like a slovenly game show host & required our guests to shout their drink order into a microphone over the party’s din. Arthur used a camera to map their facial features so it could identify them when they returned for another drink. Upon their return Arthur would greet them by name, entertain them with a witty anecdote, remind them of their previous drink, and suggest their next.
As the party got louder these interactions got more strained & performative. Arthur grew weary & the drinks grew inconsistent—drinkable, but only just.
In 2021 we followed up Arthur with “The Full Stack,” a barbot that promised to make faster, more consistent drinks using a conveyor belt system with udder-like pumps. The conveyor belt would allow for multiple concurrent drinks to be made, and the medical-grade pumps would serve ingredients in a more dimensionally accurate way. The bot used RFID tags in branded glasses to keep track of users’ previous drinks & display the data on a large LED “LITRE-board.”
Performance-wise, the robot was a success. It poured almost 500 perfect drinks in one evening (the only baddies being due to poor recipe choices). The LITRE-board functioned well but encouraged people to compete in a somewhat irresponsible way (the high score for the evening will not be disclosed here).
But of course: a host’s work is never done. We’re already thinking about future iterations where the bot asks patrons to rank their previous drinks & adjusts the base recipe according to the group’s average response and… as always, we’re committed to taking a far-out idea even further.