The Herman Trend Alert|
October 25, 2006
Robots Respond to Skilled Labor Shortage
Recently, Joyce attended WIRED Magazine's NextFest technology show in New York City to research the interface between leading-edge technologies and workforce/workplace trends. We will share information gathered in Herman Trend Alerts.
In back rooms of casinos and other hospitality venues that that offer mass-produced beverages, bartenders labor away, mixing the same drinks for hours at a time, out of the view of guests. They mix alcoholic drinks and pour non-alcoholic beverages for long periods of time without stopping. Not only is the work repetitive, but the challenge of providing product consistency is significant.
Enter RoboBar(R) by Motoman, the robot-bartender. With RoboBar, the hotel or casino will have an "employee" that will work seven days a week for 24 hours a day without needing a break, while requiring only cursory maintenance. (Motoman robots have a Mean-Time Between- Failure rating of over 62,000 hours (more than seven years). The electrical consumption costs about 30 cents per hour, more than made up in the absence of costs due to spills, over-pours, and mistakes.
RoboBar's consistent pours result in better inventory and quality controls and may be programmed to change the amount of alcohol in a drink at different times of the day. The savings is estimated at 10 to 20 percent in materials alone. The price of the high-production model, the most versatile (64 ingredients versus ten), is $200,000, estimated to pay for itself in less that a year. As more orders are received and the machine is mass produced by the end of 2007 or 2008, the manufacturer believes the cost will come down to about $150,000.
For front of the house applications, the machine also features a small screen with a male or female character (programmable) who "takes the order" and responds, using artificial intelligence and speech recognition technologies. The robot may be customized with the establishment name as well as advertising messages to promote entertainment or services offered by the venue.
Replacing four skilled bartenders, RoboBar is only the beginning of nonindustrial applications for robots. What's next?
RoboBar is a registered trademark of Motoman, Inc.
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