In the summer of 2015 we were asked to make something fun for the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards. The brief was pretty open, just that it had to be something that could go into the drinks reception area at The Hilton in Glasgow.
We discussed a few concepts and quite quickly arrived at the idea of building a robotic bartender. With only a couple of weeks to turn the project around, we had to find something to build our robot tech around.
Amazingly, a quick eBay search uncovered a 9ft tall Voltron replica for sale near Sheffield. We bid, won the auction, and picked it up in a van the next day.
Over the next few days we stripped the model back to its core components, cleaned everything down and re-painted it in a tuxedo design. We then got down to adding the magic, fabricating various mechanical parts and designing a whole range of electronics and software systems to make the stunt work. As a robotic cocktail machine we referred to him internally as the “robo-cock”, and for better or worse that name stuck.
We ditched the original wooden head, replacing it with a stripped-down TFT monitor with a custom animated 3D head. Bespoke software allowed the head and mouth to move automatically based on voice controls.
Robocock was a huge hit on the night, attracting lots of attention, serving dozens of drinks and taking part in many, many selfies. He even got a marriage proposal.
Robocock’s next outing will be at The Herald Digital Business Awards at the Radisson in October.