Robot bartender mixes drinks in 11 seconds

Bringing new meaning to BYOB, an Atlanta-based start-up will soon introduce Monsieur: a robotic, artificially intelligent bartender that is programmed to mix more than 7,000 cocktails. Drinks are ready in 11 seconds, and the entire thing fits in a suitcase. 

It begs the question: why bring a bottle, when you could just bring your own bar? 

Engineer turned entrepreneur Barry Givens had the idea for the Monsieur seven years ago, as an undergrad at the University of Georgia.

"At a restaurant, waiting at a table for drinks, it took about two hours to get my drink," he tells CBS News. "And I learned that servers can't make drinks inside a restaurant. As an engineer, the first thing that came to mind was why don’t they just have a machine back there that the servers could use to make drinks?"

He put the idea on hold after an engineering professor told him it wasn't feasible. But as he steadily built a successful engineering career, the idea nagged at him. Two years ago, he decided to give it a go. 

His design is incredibly easy to use. First, users select what types of drinks they want Monsieur to make. These lists are called party profiles. The dozens of options include a cigar bar, tiki lounge, ladies' night, Cinco de Mayo -- there is even a non-alcoholic party list. 

Once you pick your party profile, the machine tells you which eight 1500 milliliter bottles to load into the back compartments. There is also a smaller version of the machine, which holds four 850 ml bottles. 

Orders are placed via the built-in touch screen, or through a linked smartphone app. You can select your exact drink, or use two functions that select a drink for you.  

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With the Monsieur's smartphone app, users can order from anywhere in the room.
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 Choose "Filter," select one or two ingredients, and Monsieur will use them to concoct a cocktail for you. Or pick "Surprise Me," and Monsieur completely takes the reigns. 

Each drink is ready in 11 seconds, and there's no chance of a mess, because the robot will not pour if there isn't a cup in place to catch the cocktail. It can mix up to 150 drinks before supplies run out. (Unless everyone at the party orders the same thing, in which case it will run out sooner. When the bottles start to get low, the system can be programmed to automatically order refills. 

Like a good bartender, this robot keeps track of what you order, and will start to make recommendations based on your tastes. You can adjust the strength of the drink, making it "lightweight" or "boss," and it will eventually adjust all of the recipes to match your preferences.

Monsieur also keeps a watchful eye on partygoers. If they order from their smartphones, the app tallies up drinks. It also asks for height and weight. Once a user has ordered enough drinks to raise their blood alcohol level above the legal limit for driving, the app will send a notification.  

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The app sends an alert when it thinks you've had enough to drink.
At home, Monsieur is more of a personal butler. Using wifi, it knows when you're home. If you had a long day at the office, it'll pour you a double. Watching a big game? It knows to serve drinks when your team wins. 

"We envision a world where Monsieurs are in nightclubs, arena suites, hotels and offices and many other places where you enjoy cocktails...and they will recognize who you are and your preferences via your mobile app," the Monsieur creators wrote in a Kickstarter campaign. 

The campaign raised $140,105 through 197 supporters. The company said a small number of units would be delivered by the end of the year, and then Monsieurs will be more widely available in the spring of 2014 with a starting price estimated at $4,000. Givens says they are already being tested in the luxury suites at three NBA arenas.

  • Danielle Elliot On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Danielle Elliot is a freelance science editor and reporter for CBS News. She holds an M.A. in science and health journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow her on Twitter - @daniellelliot.

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