Food & Drink

This Robot Lets You Order Cocktails with Your Mind

YouTuber Robert Prest created a mind-reading, bartending robot that mixes your cocktail without a single word spoken or a physical command made. The future is now.

It’s called Barbot 4. Prest, who posts videos of his hacks and random chipmunk clips, built the mind reader from a grandfather clock he turned into a cocktail machine in early 2018. It makes drinks using four mixers and four spirits, spitting out classics like Black Russians. It is, as Alex Bate, the social media editor for the Raspberry Pi blog, writes: “The drink-dispensing grandfather clock who knows when it’s time to party.”

Barbot 4 uses Raspberry Pi (a low-cost computer that can be programmed for specific tasks), a Mindflex Electroencephalography (EEG) toy and a Bluetooth connection to work it’s magic. The Mindflex EEG attaches to your ear lobes and has a metal sensor that fits just above your eyebrow. The EEG recognizes two types of brainwaves and classifies them as concentration or meditation. Prest uses these two types of waves as commands, similar to how a computer uses 1s and 0s in its binary code. “Concentration” cycles through options, and “meditation” orders the drink. To start it, you say “read my mind.” The signals are sent via Bluetooth to Barbot 4, allowing the thirsty user to cycle through and choose drink options shown on a screen. Send out your meditation brain waves and then presto, you have a drink you ordered with your mind.

Just because there’s no physical cocktail making doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. It takes more mental fortitude to order from Barbot 4 than it does to shout a drink order over a gaggle of bros hovering at a sports bar. But there’s no telling what the future holds. As Stephen Hawking once said, “With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.”