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July 24, 2019

Robotic bar opens in Milan to “empower” city’s drinkers

By Lucy Ingham

A robotic bar has opened in Milan, Italy, that is designed to introduce people to the world of industrial robotics and how it can benefit them.

The Makr Shakr, which was developed by MIT professor Carlo Ratti, is equipped with two robotic arms that together can make an “infinite” number of cocktails from the 150-spirit selection at its disposal.

It has opened at The View rooftop bar at Milan’s TownHouse Duomo hotel, one of only three places in Europe where drinkers can currently have their cocktails made by the Makr Shakr robot.

A variant on the bar has also recently opened at The Barbican in London, the UK, where the robot has been installed temporarily to accompany the AI: More Than Human exhibition.

Makr Shakr robotic bar to bring users face-to-face with industrial robots

For creator Carlo Ratti, the Makr Shakr is intended to introduce users to industrial robots in a way that feels friendly and familiar.

“Industrial robots are going to change the global workforce, but many people have never had the opportunity to see them – let alone interact with them,” said Ratti, who is founding partner of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati.

“Our motivation is in creating novel opportunities for people to interact with new technologies.”

The robotic bar, which is designed to mimic the movements of Italian dancer Marco Pelle, makes drinks ordered through a mobile app in a few seconds. Customers are able to choose from a menu of options or design their own custom blends for the robot to produce.

For Makr Shakr, this approach is intended to put control in the hands of customers.

“The View by Makr Shakr shows how technology can empower people,” said Emanuele Rossetti, CEO of Makr Shakr.

“It is not about replacing humans with robots but allowing robots to be extensions of our arms. In short, you are the bartender.”

Read more: Meet the Ocado-backed robotics startup bringing hyper-personalisation to restaurants


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