Apps & Technology

Robot bartender takes up residency at Barbican Centre

A drink-mixing robot called Toni will take up residency at London’s Barbican Centre as part of its ‘AI: More than Human’ summer exhibition.

Toni, designed by Italian company and producer of automated cocktail makers Makr Shakr, will be at the centre in an aim to explore the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology.

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On show to the public from 16 May to 26 August, Toni will be installed on the Barbican’s Level G, serving to both visitors of the exhibition and passersby a variety of classic cocktails and mocktails, including the curaçao-based “More than Human,” created especially for the summer exhibition.

Modelled on the gestures of Italian dancer and choreographer Marco Pelle from the New York Theatre Ballet, Toni by Makr Shakr claims to be the most advanced drink-mixing robot available for purchase or rent on the market.

The robot bartender features two mechanical arms that can prepare and serve any drink in seconds – shaking, stirring, and muddling with coordinated, dance-like movements. It can manage more than 150 bottles of different spirits hanging from the ceiling of the bar structure and serve up to 80 cocktails an hour.

Toni aims to show how technology can empower people, through the creation of a new drinking experience. Using Makr Shakr’s mobile app, users can either select premade recipes developed by international bartenders, or create and name brand new, customised cocktails of their own.

Emanuele Rossetti, CEO at Makr Shakr, said: “The ‘AI: More than Human’ exhibition challenges us to imagine a future that revolves around a new alliance between people and machines. This has always been the mission of Makr Shakr – to show how industrial robotics can become a way for people to express their creativity.

“Being part of the Barbican’s major exhibition for this summer gives us the possibility to show how technology is changing the food and drink industry, facilitating new interactions between humans and machines.”

Launched in 2014 from the innovation and design practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati founded by MIT professor Carlo Ratti, Makr Shakr has since become an independent company, serving over one million cocktails to thousands of people internationally. Industrial versions of Makr Shakr’s bars are permanently installed aboard six Royal Caribbean cruise ships, while other editions can be seen in Las Vegas, Nevada and Biloxi, Mississippi.

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