Abigail Klein Leichman
July 9, 2015, Updated July 16, 2015


As a sophisticated cocktail culture takes hold in Israel, three university students have found a way to eliminate human error from the drink mix.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology computer-science students Michal Friedman, Yoav Mizrahi and Zorik Gechman rolled out Robodrink, a robot they programmed to prepare trendy cocktails on demand.

“We built a machine that has brackets for holding eight bottles. We programmed it to mix drinks using combinations from three bottles of juice and five alcoholic beverages,” explained Friedman. “Users choose a cocktail from the menu in the application we developed. When a glass is put on the platform at the edge of the track, the robot prepares the drink within seconds, based on a precise recipe.”

Gechman said the robot was built entirely from scratch during an Arduino systems programming course taught under the guidance of Prof. Yossi Gil, tutorial teachers Boris van Sosin and Marina Minkin, and Nir Levy, academic relations director at Microsoft R&D, which sponsored the course.

Robodrink photo courtesy of the Technion.
Robodrink photo courtesy of the Technion.

“This is a project that combines both hardware and software,” said Gechman. “We assembled the electronic components and built the electrical circuits. We wrote the software for an Arduino processor and developed an app that communicates with the robot via Bluetooth, based on recipes located on the cloud.”

Mizrahi added: “We are software people, but in order to complete our project we taught ourselves how to build the robot. We read a lot on the Internet and overcame a great many challenges.”

They worked on Robodrink intensively for three months, in consultation with experienced bartenders who advised them regarding the most commonly requested cocktails. Apparently these professionals were not in fear for their jobs.

“The bartenders we consulted were very enthusiastic and loved the robot idea,” said Friedman. “They said they’d be very happy to install one in their bars.”

Robodrink may one day join the Israeli robotic “hall of fame” that includes the Robomow lawn-cutting robot, WheeMe massage robot, fruit-picking robotssolar-panel-cleaning robots, Metabolic Robots for feeding livestock, robots for surgery, robots for driverless vehicles and the Dolphin robotic swimming-pool cleaner.

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