Science Technology Video

This Robot Butler In Las Vegas Is ‘Silly, Scary and Useful All At Once’

Robots and automation are slowly expanding into the food space, with capabilities including flipping burgers and brewing coffee. Now, however, there’s a robot butler in Las Vegas that will deliver goods straight to your hotel room in what could be the future of room service.

robot butler

The Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas now has a pair of these delivery bots that link directly to the hotel’s market cafe. Named Fetch and Jett, they can easily navigate crowds and optimize ordering to ensure that you get the stuff you requested in under five minutes.

Foodbeast’s own Elie Ayrouth got to try the new robot butler out in a beta test, and found the robot “silly, scary, and useful all at once.”

“Scary?” I prodded.

“Nothing about the dog-themed robot is scary, per se — just scaringly interesting in how far we’ve come. I didn’t realize we needed a robot to deliver toiletries to the room, but the inevitable makes sense. Why waste a human person’s time when this robotic dog could bring me Chapstick, tooth brush or a cup of coffee.”

“The most surreal part of the experience is that the robot goes out the front door of the convenience store downstairs just like a customer would, tracks through the lobby, goes up the elevator, and down to your room,” he said. “I think most people have no idea what they’re looking at.”

The robot delivery system starts on a tablet that Vdara already uses for their room service. You can pick what drinks, snacks, or other goods you need from the Market Cafe, and they’ll be packaged and loaded up into the robot butler. It then navigates through the crowds and up elevators to your room, and calls upon arrival so that you’re ready to pick up your stuff as soon as it reaches your door.

Ayrouth noted that there isn’t a ton of room inside for your order. “I think it can hold a few cups of coffee and a bag of chips, and I don’t believe it makes multiple stops on one outing,” he explained. “When it’s compartment is opened, the entirety of it is emptied out, and likely needs to go all the way back downstairs before it can make another trip.”

Nonetheless, the new robots at Vdara present a convenient way to get your amenities to you while allowing the staff to focus on customer service and other hotel needs.

While Vdara’s robot butler serves as a useful convenient option, it can’t deliver full meals just yet. However, Ayrouth sees these as “a start in the direction” of robots becoming the future of room service. “It can deliver coffee, given a larger capacity it could surely hold hot plates of food,” he says.

We’ll have to see how these robots perform and what the future may hold for Vdara’s automation capabilities to see how that future could play out.

News Technology

Yelp Eat24 Launches Robot Delivery Program In San Francisco

The future of meal delivery is here, America.

Yelp Eat24 has teamed up with autonomous ground-delivery robot maker Marble to create its first fleet of meal delivery robots.

The fleet will be released into San Francisco starting April 12th, where participating restaurants in the Mission and Potrero Hill Districts will be able to utilize the robots to deliver food to their customers.

The robots were made with a variety of sensors and technology similar to that of self-driving cars, which allows them to safely navigate busy sidewalks with ease. They can also map streets as they travel throughout the city to optimize delivery time and transportation routes. Marble plans to have the entire city of San Francisco mapped by the robots by the end of 2017.

“We are always looking for innovative new ways to give diners what they want: efficient and affordable food delivery,” said Shalin Sheth, Head of Delivery Operations at Yelp Eat24. “Marble’s robots help Yelp Eat24 restaurants better serve their communities and we’re excited to enhance the delivery experience for customers and be able to serve a larger market.”

Customers who order from participating local restaurants can order through the Eat24 app and will have the option to have a robot deliver them their meal. Their orders will be placed into adaptable cargo bays within the robot by the restaurant that are locked with a code, which is then sent to the customer to input on the robot for access to their eats.

Marble will be expanding their delivery robot fleet to new restaurants and delivery partners each month, and hope to eventually expand their service nationwide.

When that happens, you can count on these robots swarming everywhere as the new way to get your food delivered.

Technology What's New

Robotic Self-Checkout Instantly Scans And Bags Your Groceries

Lawson grocery store in Osaka, Japan thinks it has found the future of shopping, as they collaborated with Panasonic to create a check-out counter that will not only scan the items in your basket, but instantly bag them.

The basket itself has sensors that detect the items you place inside. Once you’re done shopping and want to check out, the register has a dedicated space for the basket where your groceries are automatically scanned.

Then the really cool part happens, as the bottom drops from the basket, and your groceries safely fall into a bag.

It’s a pretty neat concept, but it would never work for customers who shop big.

We’d also be more excited about this if Amazon hadn’t recently announced the true future of grocery shopping by eliminating the checkout counters altogether.

Still, this is a busy, anti-social introvert’s dream, until an error occurs and you have to ask a pesky human for help.

h/t cnet


Japan Created The World’s First Robot Farm And Here’s What It Can Do


Japan is really pushing forward with robotics. First, we got the pancake flipper, then the Sushi Robot and now a farm that’s fully operated by automatons will soon make its debut.

Tech Insider reports that Spread, a lettuce production company, will have a farm that only hires robots to harvest lettuce. About 30,000 heads of lettuce will be ready for shipment every day, reportedly. That’s nearly 11 million a year.

The machines, however, will be more like conveyor belts with arms attached than the cybernetic farmers we were picturing in our heads. Ah well, it’s probably for the best.

Scheduled to open in 2017, Spread’s Kameoka Plant will increase productivity. The robotic farm will also reduce labor costs by 50 percent, cut energy consumption by 30 percent and use 98 percent recycled water for the crops.

All these benefits will potentially lower costs for consumers, said a spokesperson for Spread.

Spread’s robotic farm is set to open sometime next year.


This Robot Chef Can Cook 2,000 Different Recipes, Here’s How To Get It


When a robot is capable of performing one of the most human crafts of all, one should definitely be worried. However, if you’re a chef at a busy restaurant and you can use an extra pair of hands, looking into one might not be so bad. It’ll soon be on the market.

The chef-like robot is able to cook up to 2,000 different dishes on command. Created by Moley Robotics, the machine responds to user commands sent via mobile device. The robot follows the instructions and incorporates technique and timing to produce a dish.

Moley plans to release the machine in 2017 for commercial use. If successful, it can definitely change the way the restaurant industry is run.

While not a completely humanoid machine, the robot is mostly two arms utilizing 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors. All those parts, however, is capable of replicating the actions of a human hand.

Watch the robot in action as it prepares watch appears to be an Italian dish.


Nestlé Using a Robot Capable of Responding to Emotions to Sell Nescafé in Japan


What better way to sell a machine than with a machine? Nestlé Japan is set to begin selling Nescafé Dolce Gusto single-cup machines and Gold Blend coffee using Pepper, a humanoid robot capable of responding to human emotions. Yep, the inevitable future featuring robots has finally arrived.

The first of its kind, the robot will be able to read and respond to emotions to sell the products. The robot is equipped with voice- and emotio-recognition technology, as well as being able to read people’s facial expressions and tone of voice. Pepper takes all these factors into account and analyzes how its customer is feeling. The robot also moves pretty fluidly. Scary, actually.

Nestlé is planning to have a robot in 1,000 stores nationwide by the end of 2015. So basically a semi-sentient robot legion.






Government Builds Robot to Judge Thai Food


People take their national foods seriously, that’s a given. So when someone is producing sub-par dishes and calling them authentic, it ruins things for everyone else. The prime minister of Thailand is especially tired of restaurants cooking up crappy Thai food, so she had a robot created to solve the problem. Yeah.

According to the NY Times, the Thai Delicious Committee is a group focused on ensuring that Thai cuisine meets high-quality expectations. The committee appointed a robotic judge to deem what is worthy of being called Thai food. The machine utilizes a series of sensors to emulate the chemical signatures of Thai dishes. It then compares the results with a government database of what is considered a “good dish” and projects a score out of 100. If a dish falls below a score of 80 points, it’s legally considered bad Thai food.

The plan is have one of these machines in each of the Thai embassies throughout the world. Each unit is valued at $18,000, and the machines will judge selected restaurants within the areas where they’re stationed. While the science behind it seems pretty solid, some are wary of the robot judge. They feel humans would be better suited to gauge authenticity rather than machines.

Robots can’t taste the love of home cooking. If they could understand love, we’d have a bigger problem than just shitty food.

H/T NY Times


The Keurig of Booze Has Arrived: A Personal, Robotic Bartender Named ‘Monsieur’


If you’ve ever fancied coming home to find a robotic bartender waiting for you with a stiff drink, this could be the answer to your prayers.

Last week, the four-person company Monsieur moved towards selling a home version of its automated bartender — a small contraption that mixes drinks for you and is able to learn your moods, needs and preferences to make sure it always serves you the right drink, at the right time, no matter how discerning your tastes.


The baby brother of a much larger, industrial machine that can be found in a number of establishments in Atlanta (where the company hails from), the Monsieur can mix thousands of drinks and features a touchscreen menu of everything it has to offer. It also comes complete with themes such as Cinco de Mayo and serves the appropriate drinks to go along with such as margaritas or mojitos. Users can increase or reduce the strength of any desired drink or even ask for a non-alcoholic version. Or, for the more adventurous, there’s always the “surprise me” button. The more the machine is used, the better it becomes at understanding its owners’ tastes and preferences.

However, this wouldn’t be a truly ‘smart’ gadget if it didn’t come complete with an app, and the Monsieur is no exception. The app can be used to remotely order and mix a drink while you’re not at home and the machine can use the app to know when you’re coming home and what sort of drink it should have ready for your return. Even cooler, or creepier (whichever way you choose to look at it), the Monsieur connects to your Wi-Fi network and can recognize when you come home based on your mobile joining the network. He can also ascertain if you’ve got company based on how many people join the network when you arrive home and make enough drinks to satisfy your guests. Crazy stuff.

Like all good barmen, it will know when to stop serving its obliterated clientele. It can monitor blood alcohol levels and can even call a cab if it deems this necessary.


This beauty is going to cost you. Monsieur Mini, with a four-liquid container capacity, is $1,499, while the eight-container machine, is $2,699. But by all means, if you’ve got $1,500 bucks lying around, go for it.

The company has turned to Kickstarter to bring the device not only into the home, but into bars, clubs and hotel lobbies around the world and is looking to raise $100,000 USD towards further development and manufacturing costs so it can build and ship out its first batch.

H/T Mashable + PicThx Monsieur