Robotics

Makr Shakr: World’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar makes debut

Makr Shakr: World’s first crow...
Makr Shakr madeits debut at Google I/O
Makr Shakr madeits debut at Google I/O
View 25 Images
The progress display for the Makr Shakr
1/25
The progress display for the Makr Shakr
Programming the Makr Shakr
2/25
Programming the Makr Shakr
Makr Shakr in development
3/25
Makr Shakr in development
SICK laser safety scanner installed at the foot of a robot
4/25
SICK laser safety scanner installed at the foot of a robot
One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators
5/25
One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators
One of the Makr Shakr manipulators
6/25
One of the Makr Shakr manipulators
One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators
7/25
One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators
Makr Shakr being put through its paces
8/25
Makr Shakr being put through its paces
Makr Shakr setting a drink on a conveyor
9/25
Makr Shakr setting a drink on a conveyor
Two Makr Shakr arms working together
10/25
Two Makr Shakr arms working together
The Makr Shakr display at Goolge I/O
11/25
The Makr Shakr display at Goolge I/O
The Makr Shakr display at Goolge I/O
12/25
The Makr Shakr display at Goolge I/O
The Makr Shakr in operation
13/25
The Makr Shakr in operation
Makr Shakr at work
14/25
Makr Shakr at work
Makr Shakr and the finished product
15/25
Makr Shakr and the finished product
Makr Shakr uses the Coca Cola Freestyle technology
16/25
Makr Shakr uses the Coca Cola Freestyle technology
Side view of Makr Shakr at work
17/25
Side view of Makr Shakr at work
The Makr Shakr arms work in concert
18/25
The Makr Shakr arms work in concert
Users order drinks using a smartphone app
19/25
Users order drinks using a smartphone app
Makr Shakr can make a virtually infinite number of different drinks
20/25
Makr Shakr can make a virtually infinite number of different drinks
A display shows the status of the robots
21/25
A display shows the status of the robots
Users can share their drinks recipes with other users.
22/25
Users can share their drinks recipes with other users.
Makr Shakr can monitor users' alcohol consumption
23/25
Makr Shakr can monitor users' alcohol consumption
Makr Shakr madeits debut at Google I/O
24/25
Makr Shakr madeits debut at Google I/O
Makr Shakr serving a drink
25/25
Makr Shakr serving a drink

Robot bartenders aren’t new, but they tend to be more drink vending machine than cool mixologist. To inject a little panache, researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab in collaboration with Coca-Cola and Bacardi Rum have developed Makr Shakr – a robot drink-mixing system that made its debut at the Google I/O annual developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday as the world’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar.

Makr Shakr doesn’t flip bottles like Patrick Swayze, more’s the pity. Even with recent advances in robotics, that sort of thing generally ends in broken glass and people running for cover. Instead, it uses three robot arms with special attachments and a programmable mixing system. Working in concert, they make drinks and hand them out by means of a set of conveyor belts.

One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators
One of the Makr Shakr shaker manipulators

That doesn’t sound like much to write home about, but the developers at MIT and the design firm Carlo Ratti Associati in Turin put a few moves on the robots by using motion capture to reproduce the gestures of Roberto Bolle, étoile dancer at the La Scala opera house in Milan and Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theater, along with Italian director and choreographer Marco Pelle. They may not juggle the Vermouth, but they do try for a dash of style.

It’s also rather a social system. Users order drinks using a smartphone app, but it isn't simply a matter of selecting from a pre-determined list. The Makr Shakr uses technology from Coca Cola’s Freestyle beverage dispenser, which can dispense over a hundred different mixtures of sodas. Using the app, the users can order their own alcoholic and nonalcoholic bespoke drinks complete with suitable garnishes, which the robots will produce with a bit of standard shaker work using specially designed manipulators and then serve it up while a screen behind them keeps track of the action.

The Makr Shakr arms work in concert
The Makr Shakr arms work in concert

“The number of drink combinations is almost limitless,” says Yaniv Turgeman, project leader from MIT Senseable City Lab. “The magic moment will be watching the formation of a bottom-up bar culture, as we close the loop between ‘co-curating’ and ‘co-producing,’ in real time.”

The app also allows users to share connections, recipes and photos on various social networks. “Makr Shakr is a great example of how digital technologies are changing the interaction between people and products - a topic that our laboratory has been exploring in great depth,” said Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “The system explores the new dynamics of social creation and consumption - ‘design, make and enjoy’ - allowing users to design their own cocktail creations, while digitally controlled machines transform these designs into reality. Digital connectivity is not replacing physical interactions, but rather reinforcing them.”

The Makr Shakr won’t listen to your problems or offer its thoughts on last night’s game, but it can monitor alcohol consumption and blood alcohol levels (though we're not exactly clear on how at this point), so it does aim at promoting responsible drinking.

The video below shows the Makr Shakr robot system in action.

Source: Makr Shakr via GigaOM

Makr Shakr

2 comments
Adriaan Brink
Why dont the videos just show the thing working instead of being so clever that you dont actually see it making a drink??
Robt
When this technology reaches maturity, the major benefit will be that there will be no bartender to rob the owner blind.