Makr Shakr is an interactive mixology system that debuted this week at the Google I/O After Hours event in San Francisco. Here's how it works:
1. Order your drink of choice from an app on your phone
2. The ingredients are released by a drink dispenser
3. A robotic arm will finish off the drink with any necessary flourishes, like a lemon slice or a quick shake
4. Your drink is sent down a conveyor belt for easy access
The progress of your order is displayed in real-time while you wait. You can see how many people are in line ahead of you, approximately how long you will have to wait, and when your drink is ready. It also lets you know what drinks are trending that night, and you can provide input on cocktails from your phone if you think you can improve the recipe.
This all sounds awesome, but (unfortunately) the goal isn't to replace human bartenders with robotic ones. Yaniv Turgeman from MIT's SENSEable City Lab led this project to learn more about how something social, like drinking, can be influenced by technology. How might consumption patterns change if you can see what your peers are drinking? Will that influence what you order next?