Friday, February 15, 2013

We've launched our new web site today and it includes a blog! Starting today, this blog will no longer be updated. You can find our new blog here:

We hope to see you on our shiny new site soon!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Wonderful World of Drink Bots

Ever since the first cocktail was poured people have been searching out ways to do it faster and with better accuracy. Millions of dollars are spent every year on the newest bartending gadget or gizmo. Then, when robot technology started to become more accessible people began tinkering with the idea of creating a robotic bartender. We’ve seen them in movies, but how close are we to actually having one at home to make us that perfect drink? Well, probably a lot closer than you think.

Party Robotics has been working hard for the last five years to bring a simple, fun robot that dispenses delicious cocktails into the mainstream marketplace. However, we’re not the only ones out there creating bartending robots. Let’s take a look at what else is available in the world of drink bots.

In the commercial world you really only have few options. One is the RoboBar, manufactured by MotoMan. With a pricetag of $160,000 this behemoth of a bot is not exactly feasible for home bar enthusiasts. RoboBar is serious about giving people the robot bartender experience and comes equipped with a lifesize robot; dressed in a tux and featuring a male or female personality. This bot is not designed to assist bartenders, but replace them, touting that it can “work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks, vacations, holidays, or sick time (or hangovers).”

The Virtual Bartender
Another bot that is available to purchase right now is the Virtual Bartender from Digital Beverages. This is a bot for those with money to spend and the space to set it up. The Virtual Bartender weighs in at 350 pounds, is about the size of a large dishwasher and requires a drain, and hot/cold water line connections. Much like the RoboBar, The Virtual Bartender has a LCD touch screen and can deliver a wide range of drinks, boasting it can hold up to 32 different ingredients. Adding one of these bots to your home will set you back between $5,800 - 7,500.

The InebriatorNext we get into the world of diy bots which are not available for purchase at this time. The first is The Inebriator. You may have heard of this guy as he gathered up a bit of publicity on the interwebz back in September of last year. The Inebriator is an Aurdino powered cocktail machine created in the UK by Ian Cooper and Jake Osborne. The bot holds nine liquor bottles upside down on the upper level and stashes its mixers in a custom cooler down below. Any mixers need to be moved from their original bottles into plastic containers which have been plumbed with two pipes, one leading to a gas tank and the other to a valve. Drinks are ordered from a special controller box and a glass then moves under the bottles along a conveyer belt. The bot can dispense a drink in about 30 seconds, depending on how many ingredients it contains.

Another bot which is quite similar to The Inebriator is MELMACC. This cocktail dispensing machine was built by Oliver Höftberger, Robert Neuner, and Michael Mueller. The bot also utilizes the conveyer belt design, though does not have a gas tank or separate cooler box for mixers. Instead the mixers sit in their own special containers next to the alcohol. Drinks are also a bit slow to come from MELMACC, clocking in at about 40 seconds.

There are several other fun little speciality bots out there which make appearances at events such as Roboexotica and BarBot. There is Layerbot which uses peristaltic pumps to create layered shots, Robomoji that crafts mojitos, and SoBEaR, the breathalyzer/booze dispensing teddy bear.

As you can see there are lots of projects and attempts at delivering an amazing robot bartender to the masses. Our own creation, Bartendro, is going to be making its debut on Kickstarter soon and we’re hoping that it will meet all of your home bar needs. The newest models are lightweight and can easily be carried by one person, uses peristaltic pumps to give the most accurate drinks possible, delivers those drinks in less than 10 seconds, has an interactive user interface which can be run off your smartphone or tablet, is easy to clean, and most importantly makes delicious precision cocktails (or crazy custom juice creations). If you want to check it out in person we’re going to be at Robogames’ annual BarBot event in San Francisco on March 1st and 2nd. Come on down and let our bot get you drunk!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

ORD Camp drink report

A little over a week ago we were fortunate enough to attend ORD Camp in Chicago. Pierre and I spent the weeks leading up to ORD Camp working on the newest version of Bartendro. We literally finished putting all the pieces together in the hotel room in Chicago and once we arrived at ORD Camp. Up until we arrived at ORD Camp, the bot had never served a single drink!

Bartendro @ ORD Camp (photo by John Tolva)
What could've easily turned into a "demo nightmare" turned out to be a success! Aside from one minor hiccup at the start, Bartendro did an amazing job of pouring drinks all evening long.

The reactions Bartendro received were stunning! My favorite quote would have to be: "I've seen a lot of awesome, but this is the best thing EVAR. EVAR!"

It seems that everyone was pleased with our invention -- we ended up pouring 149 drinks that evening!

The model shown on the above is Bartendro 7: it has 7 pumps and can dispense 7 different types of liquids and serve 14 different drinks. At ORD Camp we loaded the bot with:
  1. Lime juice
  2. Cranberry juice
  3. Butterscotch schnapps
  4. Sour apple pucker
  5. Kahlua
  6. Bailey's
  7. Vodka
Bartendro gave us the following report at the end of the evening:

Total number of drinks: 149
Total volume of drinks: 18.032 Liters
drinknumbervolume (L)
Vodka cranberry253.12
Sour apple martini202.37
Buttery nipple151.53
Vodka gimlet151.858
Black russian111.47
Black unicorn81.049
Caramel apple60.69
Baby guinness50.63
Girl scout cookie40.51
Pure ecstasy20.24
Screaming orgasm10.12

I was especially pleased how well people adapted to it after their first drink. There were quite a few repeat customers who knew exactly what to do to get their drink. Two or three taps, hold the cup under the spout, press POUR wait a few seconds and they were off to rejoin whatever shenanigans that were underway. 

It was a great evening -- thanks to everyone who came and helped us test the latest incarnation of Bartendro. We're gearing up for a Kickstarter soon and if you're interested in getting your own bot or pumps to make your own bot, stay tuned on this blog or follow us on Twitter.