Having to elbow your way through a crowded bar every time you throw back a boozy beverage is the nuisance that inevitably accompanies a warm-weathered Saturday night. Dozens of patrons beg, flailing their arms and raising their voices, all for one bartender’s attention. Once they have it, they stand there stuttering, forgetting if what they wanted is called a Sidecar, Sea Breeze or Singapore Sling.
A new robot debuting at Wednesday’s Google I/O conference, however, is designed to save club-goers from the shoving and sheer confusion. More notable, its origins are rooted here in our own backyard, thanks to a partnership between Coca-Cola, Bacardi and MIT.
The Makr Shakr comes equipped with three robotic arms, allowing the apparatus to shake, stir and pour. All customers need to do is choose the ingredients they’re craving, from the spirits and liquors to the juices and garnishes. After they punch in their order, an animated infographic pops up showing whose drink is up next, along with what’s in it. So, as patrons are hemming and hawing over what to imbibe, they can improvise based off what the stranger two stools down is sipping on.
Although the technology sounds like a recipe for the end of human contact, an interview from Fast Company suggests otherwise:
This experiment defies the laws and traditions that have been established in bars and parties. It brings this environment into a total state of order and organized behavior. No more crazy lines or people fighting over who was there first, no more great looking girls that get to drink for free or get the bartender’s attention first, no more priority.
The time you’re spending trying to box out buzzed beer guzzlers is now being better spent chatting up the person perched across from you. The Makr Shakr’s crowdsourced concoctions are also stirring up new conversations. Instead of simply allowing customers to say, “I’ll have what she’s having,” the technology is encouraging conversation.
Now, not everyone is sold on the smartphone-enabled technology, questioning, “Is this really what we want our MIT graduates working on?” The team isn’t, say, reinventing the battery, but the Makr Shakr does have the ability to monitor alcohol consumption and blood alcohol levels, which sounds a bit more commendable than the Budweiser “BuddyCup,” able to turn drinkers into instant Facebook friends with a simple clink of their high-tech pint glasses. (Although, how insanely cool?)
In a world where we’re inevitably going to lose our jobs to software anyway, the more human interaction we can hold on to, the better. So, cheers to Makr Shakr.
For a look at the bartending bot, check out photos below, courtesy of Fast Company.