Tablet-Headed Robot Works Out How to Get Served at a Busy Bar

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team from the Bielfeld University in Germany built the odd bartending robot pictured above, as part of a test to work out how bar staff respond to visual clues that people milling about at the bar are looking to make a purchase.

The robot's name is James, which, seeing as robot names always have to stand for something, stands for Joint Action for Multimodal Embodied Social Systems. James is set up to respond when people approach, searching for the social and body language clues that indicates customers are looking to buy a drink rather than somewhere to rest their tired elbows for a bit. There's a nicely stilted video of this happening here.

The result is a bit, well, obvious. The researchers suggest positioning yourself directly in front of the counter and turning to face the bar staff works best. This works better than waving, shouting or brandishing your money, in fact, three of the more traditional approaches to signalling you're not drunk enough yet and want more.

All relatively obvious stuff, really. We think this may all have been one big scam to work out how to buy an iPad and loads of booze and claim it all back on expenses. []