The ability to prepare drinks is not the only skill required for a bartender, even if it is a robot. During the development of the robot-bartender, researchers from the University of Naples Federico II focused on the social aspect of its work, namely, the ability to support a friendly conversation. In the BRILLO interactive robotic system, they introduced a new approach that allowed the worker to personalize interactions with regular customers.

BRILLO consists of a humanoid bust with two robotic arms that allow the robot to prepare drinks, and a face on a monitor that shows different facial expressions. The robot also has a microphone, speaker, and camera that allow it to observe customers, process their speech and gestures, and respond.

Researchers believe that in order to effectively interact with people, the robot must create a user profile. This will allow not only to offer drinks based on their tastes, but also to remember their interests and what kind of conversations they prefer – funny or serious.

The interaction system enables the robot to process a person’s words and read non-verbal signals, learning what mood the user is in, how attentive they are and what drinks they prefer. The stored information will help the robot interact with the customer when they return. The bartender will be able to take into account the client’s personal history and their preferences for alcohol.

“This scenario is a challenging testbed to investigate how a robot can maintain and update a profile of the user to continuously adapt its interaction with them according to a profile that continuously changes. We believe that this kind of personalization is the key to the long-term acceptance of robots in our life and with different service and assistive roles,” the researchers say.

The initial results of the robot in experimental conditions were promising. Now scientists have to conduct more experiments in real conditions, allowing customers to interact with the robot for a long time.