MiCo: The Robotic Bartender for Mini-Cocktails
Students: Thomas Horf, Roland Roller, Sabrina Wilske
This robot is a bartender that mixes cocktails. It has an arm mounted at its top (the blue protrusion in the picture below), which it uses to push levers which in turn make a liquid squirt out of a big syringe. The five syringes contain typical cocktail ingredients, such as rum, vodka, and orange juice. The robot turns to position a cup underneath the syringe it pushes; the cup is mounted on a turntable so the robot can shake it.
The greatest hardware challenge was to find a construction that would allow the robot to reliably pour liquids into the cup. Standard bartender equipment, which e.g. requires the user to push a cup upwards to release a fixed amount of liquid, was not feasible to use because the Lego motors couldn't produce the power necessary to operate it. The final solution is built around vertically mounted silicon pistols with lighter than standard springs. An unfortunate consequence is that this means only small amounts of liquid can be added to the cup with each push of the lever -- hence the "mini-cocktails" in the name.
The dialogue for the robotic bartender revolves around cocktail selection. The bartender has access to a database of cocktail recipes, and will propose recipes at the beginning of the conversation. The user is the free to choose any cocktail by spoken commands, and can also create their own cocktail by specifying all ingredients. The robot also knows some jokes about each cocktail and each ingredient, and will tell a random joke while it mixes the drink.
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