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If only Brewbot could truly transform

Kraft mercilessly teases us--or perhaps fools us--with what would have been the coolest thing in the kitchen since sliced bread.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak

Brewbot--actual product differs vastly.
Brewbot in the commercial--the actual product differs vastly. It's just a beverage maker. Kraft Foods

Imagine having your morning cuppa joe served by a charming little humanoid robot--just like in the neat ad above and below.

"What can I get for you?" Brewbot asks in the TV commercial after performing an impressive transformation from ordinary kitchen appliance to bipedal robo-barista.

Kraft Foods' Tassimo Brewbot is a coffeemaker that can whip up seven beverages including coffee, espresso, and latte. It uses single-serve "T-discs" from makers like Maxwell House and Twinings; the discs have brewing instructions embedded in barcodes.

That's all very well and nice, and I'm sure Brewbot's coffee is just fine.

But does it really transform into a robot?

Sadly, no.

The commercial is simply a marketing gimmick along the lines of the Citroen C4 ads of yesteryear.

Or maybe the Brewbot commercial falls along more sinister lines like flimflam, sham, or fraud.

Since Brewbot isn't dancing or ice skating, its transformation seems believable in the commercial--at least until its legs magically disappear. After all, it resembles humanoid kit robots sold in Japan and elsewhere, though none can make coffee, as far as I know.

I wonder how many people will be fooled into buying it. Imagine the disappointment after that first cup.