Robots are cool. Everyone knows it, and [Eater NY] highlights a coffee shop with a robotic server opening in Brooklyn. While robots able to prepare and serve drinks or food is not new, it isn’t every day a brick-and-mortar café with a robot behind the counter opens up. But expensive automation isn’t the only puzzle piece needed to make a location work.
As one example, the linked article above points out that the city of New York prohibits entirely cashless businesses. Establishments must accept cash payments, and it’s unclear how the touchscreen-driven system would comply with that requirement.
There are also many tasks involved in running even a modest establishment — loading, cleaning, and maintaining for example — that can’t be realistically taken care of by an immobile robot barista. It’s unclear to what extent the robotic coffee shop will employ human staff, but it’s clear that human involvement is something that isn’t going be eliminated any time soon.
Some of you may remember the robotic burger joint that our own Brian Benchoff managed to check out, and many of his same observations come to mind. The robot burger was perhaps ahead of its time (its single location is listed as closed on Google maps with no recent activity) but maybe the robot coffee place can make it work. Still, expensive automation is only one piece of a system, and the ability to crank out a drink per minute 24/7 might not actually be the missing link.
25 thoughts on “Robotic Coffee Comes To Brooklyn, But Will It Stay?”
I’m not sure I want to feel ‘excited’ about this… But as to the ‘cashless’ comment… I mean we do still have ATMs and vending machines… No ?
That’s great. We can CNC some foam art with a robot but can’t cure childrens’ cancer yet. Thanks, science.
Maybe we can cut science some slack there? “I don’t care if your field is robotics, no other projects until you cure cancer” seems counter productive.
Sheer and utter conspiracy theory grade bollocks.
Cuba made a lung cancer vaccine
MSD made a HPV vaccine to prevent carcinomas of cervix, vulva, vagina and anus.
What’s your point?
That’s because cancer isn’t one disease, but a whole spectrum of it.
Way to state something that not only demonstrates that you know zero about a topic but have, in fact, formed a very strong opinion in the exact polar opposite direction. So I’ll say we (as scientists) will get around to curing cancer just as soon as we sort out space. Once we get space handled we will have some free time to get on with curing all the cancer.
My HTML is rusty so I’ll be explicit. Snark.
In the end it’s an overengineered coffee vending machine… Why?
Do you know how you get big valuations and massive funding so you can salary yourself astronomically and buy your dreams?
robots are a good start.
Now they need to have it make custom drinks based off AI interpretations of best preferences using 23andme data. Theyll be dripping in teslas by next weekend!
Edible coffee cup.
“it’s unclear how the touchscreen-driven system would comply with that requirement.”
Although not too common, cash registers where the human inputs your order and you have to throw your money into a funnel at your side of the counter are nothing new.
They have self checkout machines at Value Village that handle cash, bills and coins, we have the technology.
I have a robot serving me coffee at work. Two of them on each floor, about vending machine sized (because they’re usually called coffee machines)
>Establishments must accept cash payments,
so a bill acceptor? like every self checkout register?
>establisments must have electricity, not sure what they intend to do there, Probably have to invent cold fusion for this concept to work
I order a cup of coffee. I now owe a debt to store. I take out paper that says it is good for all debts public and private and leave that as payment. I don’t see why a separate law was required (but IAMAL).
its same as vending machine but robots there get better compensation for the work
NY Prohibits cashless businesses? Seriously?
Well simple, do what our busses do in the UK: accept cash, but don’t offer change.
Sydney buses are cashless, and have been for a few years now. You can either get a special travel card, or just tap on and off with a contactless credit/debit card.
When they system (relying on 3G connection) works it’s great. Otherwise free travel for the passengers. I’ve had a few people try to pay with cash, but I just tell them I can’t accept it, say they can tap on with a credit card, and just kind of nod them on.
That’s great for some services, not so great for others.
Just the other day I was at a gas pump and the credit card slot was busted, and the machine refused to authenticate contactless, so what to do? Where’s the next pump? Fortunately I had cash and the machine could take it.
It clearly says in the provided .gov link that charging more for cash payments is not acceptable.
Encountered a “robot bubble tea vendor” nearby recently, which was a big glass box with a robot arm in the middle of all the various dispensers and things. Gave it enough money to set it off and was immediately disappointed – while it did it’s job perfectly, the programming of the arm was practically beginner level. Separate pre-recorded operations that ran very slowly, with long delays in the neutral position before doing the next operation. Where’s the motion planning? Where’s the smooth transition from one operation to the next? I don’t want to see “trust-fund baby’s first robotics project”, dammit! :D
Ten bucks on the dollar there isn’t an Arduino in there running the stock library, using just one stepper motor at a time.
They’ve had these for a while….
Coffee shop staffed by robots is closed? Are they already on strike?
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