Bobacino's Boba Tea 'Bot Will Let You Pay with Your Face

You don't have to, but it'll be available.

When Bobacino launches its boba tea making robot next year, customers will have the option to pay with their face, thanks to an integration with PopID announced today.

PopID’s technology lets customers to register scans of their faces along with payment methods. This can be done at home ahead of time or at a PopID kiosk when paying. Once setup is complete, when a customer orders from a PopID enabled system, they just smile for the on-board camera to pay with their face.

During a video chat this week, Bobacino CEO, Darian Ahler was quick to point out that customers don’t have to enroll in the PopID system to buy drinks from his company’s forthcoming robot. It’s just integrating the system as one of a few different payment options.

My last experience with PopID was back in 2018 at a Caliburger, and that ordering kiosk was pretty big — too big to make sense for a robotic vending machine like Bobacino. While Ahler said the hardware implementation was still being worked out, the current iteration uses a device the size of an iPad.

It’s not really surprising that Bobacino is adding PopID’s face payment system, as other startups in the Wavemaker Labs portfolio are also working with the technology. Piestro, the pizza making vending machine made a similar announcement back in March. More tangentially, The Cali Group, which owns the aforementioned Caliburger, also counts PopID and Wavemaker’s Miso Robotics in its portfolio. I imagine Wavemaker’s forthcoming Nommi will also let you pay with your face when it arrives.

Speaking of arrival, Ahler wouldn’t be too specific, but said that the first Bobacino machine should come to market sometime in the first half of next year. The company is still equity crowdfunding, and has raised a little more than half a million of the $3 million goal it hopes to hit by the end of October.


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