Although they still exist traditional bars and restaurantsEvery so often we are surprised with new proposals. Some are aimed at the fashion of the moment, such as craft breweries, cocktail bars specialized in gintonics, vermouth bars … Others bet on the theme of their premises and, a third group, stands out with technological proposals, like ordering what you want from your smartphone or having a robot attend to you.
If by chance you find yourself in the United Arab Emirates, specifically in Dubai, you may want to have a coffee or a cocktail in RoboCafe, a cafeteria with robots. Literally. No humanoid machines that drop two or three welcome phrases and little else. This cafeteria is run by robots, from ordering what you want on a touch screen to receiving coffee at your table.
Actually, it is not the first project of its kind that we see in the world. Without going any further, in Barcelona and Valencia there are two restaurants where the waiters are robots with the appearance of the Robot Emilio that triumphed among children in the 90s of the last century. And halfway through, for years from Japan and around the world Japanese proposals have proliferated in which a human chef prepares your food but from the kitchen to your table dishes circulate through an automatic belt. But the Dubai proposal goes further.
A cafeteria with helpful robots
Two things are combined in the robot cafe in Dubai: artificial intelligence and the robotic. The second is already known to all of us, because we are used to seeing robots in industry and in the cinema. The real ones, the industrial ones, have no human form. Rather, they are parts of the body designed to perform specific tasks, such as the popular robotic arms.
Precisely, of these we will see several in RoboCafe. They will be in charge of making your order come true, which you have previously requested through a touch screen where you will see the letter of available specialties.
Once the robotic arms place the order, the waitress robots they will take your order. In the animation that you will find on its official page, the initial idea was to transport the dishes through rails, a more sophisticated system but inspired by conveyor belts from certain Japanese restaurants. However, they have finally chosen to use robots like the ones Amazon uses in some warehouses or like the ones that many of us have at home to sweep the floor. Its shape is suitable for place objects on top and to circulate on a surface such as the gigantic table of RoboCafe.
The key for everything to work, according to those responsible, is artificial intelligence. The necessary ingredient for a team of robots get organized and work as a team without human intervention. It is the difference between the robots of a few years ago and the current ones. That they can work without a flesh and blood supervisor.
The future with automated robots is closer
Going into detail, some may be frustrated or happy if they think it is the end of the human chefs, master mixologists or baristas. For now we can be calm. The robots in charge of this cafeteria obviously make beverages such as coffees, infusions or cocktails. They can also serve refreshments that are already prepared, as in any bar or cafeteria. There is still some way to go to achieve robots that cook elaborate dishes.
As I said at the beginning, RoboCafe is located in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Its inauguration was planned for March 2020, but the pandemic turned everything upside down. Interestingly, a cafe with robots is ideal for times of pandemic in which human contact should be the minimum possible. However, it wasn’t until June 2020 that this futuristic cafe was inaugurated.
The technology has a German invoice and has received financial support from the Dubai authorities, interested in automation and technological innovation through initiatives related to artificial intelligence. According to those responsible, it is not necessary to keep an eye on the robots, unless an error arises, something that should not be usual. However, in his Instagram account we can see images of the cafeteria where there are human employeesWe assume that to serve customers who are not comfortable with robots or to replenish the out-of-stock products that the robot baristas themselves need.
The article If you travel to Dubai, have a drink at RoboCafe, a cafe with science fiction robots was published in Hypertext.