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Video: What Do You Call a One-Armed Bartender?
11/19/2012

JAMES, a robotic bartender, can deliver drinks and speak to customers in English. Developed by the Munich Research and Transfer Institute for Software Intensive Systems  as part of ongoing research to create robots that can interact with humans, the robot can take orders and serve drinks, responding to commands from customers.   (Source: The Munich Research and Transfer Institute for Software Intensive Systems)
JAMES, a robotic bartender, can deliver drinks and speak to customers in English. Developed by the Munich Research and Transfer Institute for Software Intensive Systems as part of ongoing research to create robots that can interact with humans, the robot can take orders and serve drinks, responding to commands from customers.
(Source: The Munich Research and Transfer Institute for Software Intensive Systems)

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Rob Spiegel
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Cool robot, nice video
Rob Spiegel   11/19/2012 11:52:43 AM
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That's a pretty good video, Elizabeth. I don't think this robot will beat the simple efficiency of a human bartender. But who knows, maybe a tweak here and there could get the robot in the running. Wisecracks indeed.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Elizabeth M   11/19/2012 5:50:16 PM
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Yes, this robot is a bit slow moving, conversationally repetitive and probably would falter in a real-life, busy bar situation. But who knows what future iterations will bring? It's still quite interesting the tasks engineers are programming robots to achieve, especially in the service industry.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Ann R. Thryft   11/20/2012 11:51:09 AM
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This looks like a fun (and sufficiently complex) application for testing human/robot interactions via AI.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Cabe Atwell   11/20/2012 2:44:14 PM
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On a busy bar day, perhaps JAMES can do a better job for the masses. I don't know about anyone else, but the combination of a hulking body, small head,  and the billowy pirate shirt makes the bot look quite scary. I can see the robot bartender being simplified by something similar to a beverage vending machine. Insert cup, beverage is mixed, poured, and picked up. Just a thought.

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Elizabeth M   11/21/2012 3:56:28 AM
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Cabe, your point is well taken. I actually thought the robot was a bit scary myself...I am speaking with the company today and will suggest they make some design changes to make JAMES more user friendly, literally! But you're right, perhaps an automated device that's alreaady more recognizable to humans would be a better option.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Cabe Atwell   11/21/2012 3:19:04 PM
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Glad to see I am not the only one.

 

I would say right now they should focus on better functionality than looks.

 

C

robatnorcross
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
robatnorcross   11/20/2012 8:31:18 PM
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The Korean prison guard robots are friendlier looking! But then again the thing is from Germany.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2012 10:03:53 AM
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I agree, Elizabeth, this is interesting. Primitive now, but with tweaking and development, who knows what it might turn into. Early automobiles were nowtmuch of an improvement over the horse and buggy.

Charles Murray
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Charles Murray   11/19/2012 7:00:40 PM
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Taken as a whole, all the robots we've seen on the designnews.com site in the past year must say something about where we're heading. This is yet another example of a robot that's not yet ready for prime time, but could be ready in another decade, or even less. There must be a lesson in the importance of education here.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2012 10:19:09 AM
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Good point, Chuck. The robotic industry keeps throwing unusual -- and often primitive -- motion control functionality at the wall. Some of this is going to gain traction. The auto industry complains about the burden of unionized workers. These days they're turning to suppliers for more and more of the power train development and they're using robots for assembly. In time, automakers may become assembly and marketing companies with the assembly offloaded to robots.

Charles Murray
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Charles Murray   11/28/2012 6:42:38 PM
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This story also makes me wonder about the education of future engineers, Rob. Increasingly, we're seeing that engineers need to be versed in mechanical, electrical and electronic disciplines. This is especially true in the robotics industry. I think more college curriculums will need to be aware of this trend, and need to offer cross-displinary courses and majors.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Rob Spiegel   11/29/2012 11:13:08 PM
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You are absolutely right on the need for cross-discipline education for engineers, Chuck. Electronics is touching nearly everything now.

Charles Murray
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Charles Murray   11/30/2012 6:51:29 PM
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Other than civil engineering, I can't think of an engineering curriculum that isn't touched by electronics, Rob.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Rob Spiegel   11/30/2012 8:12:35 PM
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Even civil engineering, Chuck. I was recently talking with a civil engineer who explained the the sophisticated electronic grid of timing stoplights. Plus, some of the stoplights here in Albuquerque have cameras that catch red-light runners and speeders. So, everything is electronics these days.

Charles Murray
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Re: Cool robot, nice video
Charles Murray   12/11/2012 5:49:19 PM
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Good point, Rob. Here in Chicago, we've used sensors under the pavement to detect cars for at least 30 years.

William K.
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One armed Robot bartender
William K.   11/20/2012 10:58:45 AM
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The picture shows two arms, so perhaps one is just for show.

But the robot bartender would certainly be an attention-getting gimmick, but probably not cost effective. But as a learning tool it can certainly provide a bit of value. Of course it will also bring home the fact that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. In that aspect it would be entertaining to read about the problems that it runs into.

cadcoke5
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Appropraite social interaction?
cadcoke5   11/23/2012 2:17:29 AM
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I have always been irked when people tout their robots as being able to interact socially.  The robot in the video really doesn't care if you say hello, and does not need to be thanked.  The eyebrows may pretend to convey emotion, but it is a lie. 

Baby dolls that cry have been around a very long time. But, children, even from a very young age, understand that the object is a toy and not an infant needing human care. They understand the idea of playing pretend. 

But, as robots have become more sophisticated, the ability to truly deceive people is now possible.  Some roboticists seem to have deception as a goal, especially when it comes to a more vulnerable population with the subject of elder care.

I think there are genuine issues concerning interaction with people when it comes to planning how to make a robot understandable to people.  They need to know what to expect, and how to communicate their wishes to the machine. But, this is not really social interaction; any more than putting a dollar into a vending machine is social interaction.  Here is how the dialog should have gone;

Note that if robotic bartenders are not common, a sign nearby should say "Robotic bartender can accept voice requests. Simply state the beverage you want".

Man walks up to vending robot, "Give me a water."
Robot, "Here is your water".
Then the man leaves without saying anything.

All the "hello"s and "thank you"s are inappropriate.

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Appropraite social interaction?
Elizabeth M   11/25/2012 5:17:26 AM
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These are all really good points, cadcoke5. Maybe you're right that we can abandon the usual niceities when interacting with robots and just cut to the chase, and that would make robots more efficient and useful to designers goals for them. However, I have to disagree that roboticists want to deceive people into thinking robots are human. Rather, I think they are trying to create them to be more helpful to humans through their increased ability to interact with them as intuitively as possible within the limits of their machine intelligence. Yes, it is not "social interaction" per se as we would define it as such currently, but perhaps those definitions are shifting as robots become more integrated into the every-day life of humans.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Appropraite social interaction?
Jack Rupert, PE   11/26/2012 5:01:13 PM
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Interesting points cadcoke5.  You are quite right with your example (although some indication from the robot that it is ready to accept and input from a particular person might be desireable).  From a socially acceptable viewpoint, it could even be said that giving a robot the respect that is given to a human (please, thank you, etc.) actually degrades humanity.

That being said, how many people enter search queries into their favorite online engine in complete sentences: "How do you..."  "What is the...".  I find that a waste as well. 

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