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Saturday Night Live Unveils New Robot Bartender During Sketch
Machine appears to be more for craft cocktails rather than high throughput.
Long running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live surprised audiences last night by bringing its own robot-bartender out of stealth mode. SNL didn’t make an official announcement or provide any details about the robot, which could be seen pouring bourbon during a brief cameo in a Pete Davidson sketch set in the year 2054.
From what could be seen, the robot features two articulating arms, as well as eyes that presumably power some type of computer vision-based artificial intelligence. The robot’s “face” is a screen with vector graphics that displays the price of the drink (hilariously expensive thirty years out), as well as a breakdown of the tip and taxes, and an image of the drink being made.
OttOmate is about food and drink robots. It’s informative and fun. You should subsribe.
Though we don’t see it, the robot must be on some type of rail system behind the bar to slide back and forth to serve customers. The pair sitting at the bar in the shot seem pretty comfortably ensconced, so that doesn’t appear to be a well station for drink pickup.
The SNL robot also uses a new type of gripper system that employs rigid hooks for picking up and dispensing drinks. It is unknown if this new hook system works with any type of glass (highball, tumbler, martini, red solo).
We don’t know how many ingredients the SNL-bot can hold, how many drinks per hour it can make, or whether it has its own on-board ice machine. Judging from the layout of the bar (bottles spread out across a wide area and not in a centralized dispensing unit), it seems as though the robot is meant more for individual, crafted drinks rather than high volume.
Also unknown is how much the SNL-bot costs. Is it being offered on a lease basis, sold outright or is there a revenue share model? Is ordering done through the on-board screen or via mobile app?
One thing we do know is that while SNL’s decision to branch out from sketch comedy into robotics is a bold one, and it will face plenty of competition from well-funded players that are already at market. Companies like Rotender, EBar, Makr Shakr, Barney and Yanu are already serving drinks, gather data and expanding their operations. (Check out OttOmate’s Guide to Robot Bartenders for a complete list!)
We reached out to show producer Lorne Michaels for more information and will update this post whene we hear back*.
*no we did not and will not.