Friday, November 27, 2015

Robot Bartender at University of Sydney

The standout display at the University of Sydney "Anthelion" Graduate Show for Design Computing and M.IDEA last night was the "", robot bartender. This was an industrial robot arm mounted in the center of a semi-circular bar. The patron places a glass on the bar and the robot arm picks up a cocktail shaker, adds ingredients, shakes and pours the drink into the glass.

There were some non-obvious sophisticated features in this design (it seems to have been worked on over several years by the USyd students). Industrial robots are hazardous and normally require a safety barrier to prevent anyone getting too close. In this case, the bar itself acts as the safety barrier. The counter-top is larger than the reach of the robot arm, so a patron cannot get too close. To allow the drink to be delivered, there are two Lazy Susans built into the counter. The patron places their glass in an indentation in the Lazy Susan, which then rotates to place the glass under the arm. Another feature is that the counter-top is made from Formply, a low cost plywood coated with black waterproof laminate.

There were many other impressive projects on display. However, one problem is a lack of on-line documentation about the projects. The Anthelion website allows browsing student details, but not what projects they worked on, making it next to useless. What you get is a set of photos of students and generic skills for each, but no which student did which project.

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