These days, it’s contactless everything – from pizza delivery to sub sandwich pickups. Now, a new robot is making Boba tea with no human involvement necessary.
The company is called Bobacino and recently, I got a sneak peek at what they’re been working on. It’s a kiosk with a robotic arm inside that makes a custom drink from start to finish.
If you’re not familiar with Boba (I’ve only had it twice!), it’s a delicious combination of tea, milk, sweetener and Boba pearls, which are sort of chewy little bites you gobble up through an oversized straw while you drink.
“Boba has a really cool history that dates back to Taiwan in the 1980s,” explained Darian Ahler, CEO of Bobacino. “We wanted an experience that could reflect not only the quality of the drink you’re getting but also the excitement.”
The process of watching a robot make you a drink is pretty exciting. First, you order from a tablet. Right now, it’s just a prototype so there’s just one drink you can get, but in the future, there will be more options along with the ability to order from your phone for a fully touchless experience.
Then, the robot, which Ahler has nicknamed “Bobarista,” springs into action. First, it grabs a cup, then fills it with some ice, followed by Boba pearls, tea, milk and loads of sweetner.
After this process, the cup is hermetically sealed with plastic on top. It’s standard for Boba to be served this way, but perfect for our heightened focus on sanitary food delivery.
While the machine still isn’t perfect – on my visit engineers were still working on various aspects of the kiosk – the final product is pretty great. While I’ve only had Boba once before my taste test of this Boba made by a bot – it was excellent.
Since many Americans are still just discovering this drink, Bobacino thinks the market is ripe for expansion. They’re also doing something unique by allowing anyone to invest in the company through a sort of crowdfunding investment platform. Bobacino hopes to raise $3 million dollars this way.
At the end of the day, it’s a fun and unique way to order a drink with the latest technology to craft it also serving as sort of a mini spectacle in itself.
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