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Robo-tender at your service!

Robo-tender does duty at Milan and London bars

Trust the Italians to come up with a drinks-savvy robot that can churn out 120 cocktails (and mocktails) an hour, allowing consumers to discover and gulp down their own passions over an evening session.

Instead of shouting orders at a flustered bartender, customers place their order via a cloud-based app on their cellphones – they can either select pre-made recipes or create and name cocktails of their own!

The Makr Shakr robotic bartender has taken up residence in Milan, on the rooftop bar of the Town House Duomo Hotel that overlooks the city’s cathedral. It will serve the public until February 2020.

Makr Shakr has partnered with Bacardi for the activation, and will serve spirits from the company’s portfolio, including Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, Bombay Sapphire gin, Patrón Silver Tequila and Grey Goose vodka.

A combination of Italian design, Japanese robotics and German technology, the Makr Shakr has two robotic arms that can precisely prepare and serve any drink a customer requests in seconds – shaking, stirring and muddling with co-ordinated, dance-like movements.

It can manage 158 bottles of different spirits hanging from the ceiling of the bar structure, to create an infinite combination of drinks. The system has dispensers for sugar and syrups, ice and mint, beer and wines, operates a fruit cutter, changes lighting, and stores waste water for disposal later.

It operates eight delivery spots – all within “arm’s distance”, so to say!

The latest edition of Makr Shakr was doing duties at the Barbican, London, in August this year, to coincide with the exhibition ‘AI: More than Human’. In October, London department store Selfridges installed the robotic bartending system to serve its customers over the festive period.

Mr Emanuele Rossetti, CEO of Torino-based Makr Shakr, said: “It is not about replacing humans with robots, but allowing robots to be extensions of our arms. Our motivation is in creating novel opportunities for people to interact with new technologies.”

Modelled on the gestures of Italian dancer and choreographer, Marco Pelle from the New York Theatre Ballet, the makers of the Makr Shakr say it is “the most advanced drink-mixing robot ever put on the market” and is available to buy or rent. (www.makrshkr.com).