(Credit: Makr Shakr)
Making a semi-debut at Milan Design Week was Makr Shakr, a trio of drink-mixing robots shaking up crowd-sourced cocktails.
Crowd sourcing is all the rage — but have you ever heard of a crowd-sourced cocktail menu? That's exactly what's being mixed up with Makr Shakr, three robotic arms that will mix up the recipes fed to it via users' smartphones.
The robots between them are capable of remembering one googol drink combinations, and anyone, after downloading the app, can feed Makr Shakr their recipes, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Users can also view recipes that others have submitted, suggest improvements or leave tips for the next drink creator.
Orders can then be sent through to Makr Shakr, which will re-create the drink from start to finish — mixing, muddling, shaking and even preparing the perfect garnish. If their movements look polished, it's because they were modelled from dancers: Roberto Bolle, etoile dancer at La Scala in Milan and principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, and choreographer Marco Pelle. Bolle's movements were filmed and used in the robots' programming.
The robots are a collaborative effort between a number of companies and designers:
MIT Senseable City Lab, which came up with the concept
Carlorattiassociati, responsible for design and production
Pentagram, which made the app
SuperUber, which was responsible for data visualisation and interfacing
CIA SRL Automation and Robotics, which designed the built the robots.
Carlo Ratti, who is the director of both MIT Senseably City Laby and carlorattiassociati, said, "Digital technologies are changing the interaction between people and products. This is what we would like to do with Makr Shakr, as part of exploring the Third Industrial Revolution paradigm. People are given the power to invent their own drink recipes and digitally controlled machines make these recipes into reality. We can then enjoy the results of their production — sharing our experience and opinions with friends."
Makr Shakr will make its official debut at Google I/O on 15 May 2013. Meanwhile, you can see it in action in the video below.