Robot Baristas are Being Used in South Korea to Help with Social Distancing

Hyonhee Shin wrote . . . . . . . . .

The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way towards customers.

“Here is your Rooibos almond tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.

After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules towards what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”

Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.

“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.

The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.

An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-storey cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.

The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.

“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”

Source : Business Insider

At Bleu Sushi in Philadelphia, a Robot Hands Customers Pick-up Orders

Rachel Vigoda wrote . . . . . . . . .

Customers shouldn’t feel too surprised to find themselves bowing to a robot next time they pick up a food order at Bleu Sushi. After all, he bowed first. Owner Hendra Yong installed the robot at his Washington Square West sushi restaurant a few days ago in an effort to follow safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic while also having a little fun.

Stop by Bleu Sushi to pick up a takeout order of soft shell crab tempura and spicy tuna rolls and the robot, named Bleu Bot, grabs the bag of food, rotates to bring it over to a table next to the restaurant’s big, open front window, and sets it down before gracefully bowing to the customer in a wordless “thank you.” Yong or one of his employees initially hands the bag to Bleu Bot, but they’re able to follow social distancing guidelines and stay six feet away from customers.

“We wanted to keep serving customers, in a safe way. So we came up with this idea. I can see people’s surprise when they come because no one else is doing this,” says Yong, who’s originally from Indonesia but landed in Philly several years ago. His sushi restaurant turned eight on May 1.

“When the robot bows, the customer bows,” he adds with a laugh. “It’s kind of funny to watch.”

Yong is clearly getting a kick out of the robot, which he ordered from Japan for this purpose. It’s decorated in LED lights that change colors and, in addition to the bowing, can do a clunky little dance and bang a small gong. Yong says he’s still playing around with it and figuring out what else he can program it to do. He plans to give it a voice later — customers may soon be greeted by a warm hello from Bleu Bot.

Source : Eater Philadelphia

Cake Decorating Robot For Grocery Store Bakeries

Michael Wolf wrote . . . . . . . . .

In May 2019, Beehex expanded beyond its 3D pizza printing roots with the launch of a dessert decorating robot.

A year later, the company looks to be hitting its pastry printing stride with the release of a second product targeted at cake and cookie printing called the DecoPod.

Unlike the company’s first cake printer that was built for high-volume bakeries, the DecoPod is designed for in-store usage at your local grocery store. And, unlike the more professional cake printer, the DecoPod has a touch screen kiosk where customers can select a design and personalize the message that’s printed on the top of the cake.

According to Beehex CEO Anjan Contractor, the DecoPod can finish printing a cake in around 1-2 minutes. He says that this is fast enough for a typical in-store bakery to print up to 600 cakes per week.

Like many parents, I’ve bought my share of customized birthday cakes over the years at the grocery store or Costco and have often had to wait around for someone in the bakery to put a custom message on it. If I had the option of picking up a cake and printing a customized design and special message using an in-store printing robot, I’d jump at the chance, even if I had to pay a little extra.

For Beehex, which had rose to prominence making pizza printers for NASA, it seems like they’ve picked a more earthbound and – at least for now – higher volume business for its second act. Pastry printing is really the only 3D food printing market doing any volume at this point, in part because sugar is the perfect printing medium.

Source: The Spoon

Watch DecoPod in action at vimeo (1:26 minutes):

DecoPod Introduction . . . . .

Video: Barista Coffee Robot

Rozum Café is a fully automated coffee station designed around a robot coffee maker.

A robotic barista does all the work to brew and serve great drinks.

Watch video at You Tube (0:53 minutes) . . . . .

West Hollywood City in the U.S. Approves Delivery Robots

Chris Albrecht wrote . . . . . . . . .

In addition to random celebrity sightings, residents of West Hollywood, CA will soon be spotting autonomous delivery robots in their neighborhood. Last night the West Hollywood city council approved the use of delivery robots on its city streets (hat tip to WeHoVille).

A trial of the program will start next month with Postmates’ Serve robot and run for 90 days. Serve is a cooler-sized robot that scurries around on four wheels, and while it can run autonomously using sensors and cameras to avoid people and obstacles, the city council is requiring a human chaperone during the trial. Additionally, only three robots can be in operation at once, they can only run during the day, and they aren’t allowed on sidewalks deemed substandard.

Serve has already been making deliveries in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles since the tail end of last year, and the West Hollywood expansion illustrates how cautious local regulators are being when it comes to robots.

Across the country from West Hollywood, state lawmakers in Missouri introduced their own bill to regulate sidewalk delivery robots. The proposed legislation would limit a robot’s weight to 200 lbs, have autonomous driving capabilities, and require an insurance policy of $100,000 to cover any damages.

State and local governments across the country are grappling with rapid innovation like sidewalk robots essentially in real time. Lawmakers have to weigh the convenience of something like an autonomous sidewalk robot with the costs. Sidewalk robots could help reduce traffic congestion by getting delivery cars off the road, but then you have fleets of ‘bots crowding sidewalks. Robots could make meal delivery more affordable, but you have to make sure they are distributed in an equitable fashion. Then there are questions around liability and privacy when running robots on public streets, and more fundamental questions like where robots can recharge.

The point is, autonomous robot delivery technology is available and ready, now we just to wait and see how it will be integrated into our everyday lives.

Source: The Spoon