After declaring their experiment with wine vending machines a success, Pennsylvania alcohol regulators began experimenting with mechanical bartenders. The goal, they explained, was to replace fallible humans with dependable machines.
“We’ve had tremendous problems with bartenders serving underage drinkers and continuing to serve people who have had too much to drink,” explains state Liquor Commissioner Rube Goldberg. “We’re combining the the identification verification technology we developed for the vending machines with state-of-the-art robotics to produce a mechanical bartender that will not make human mistakes. We’re very excited.”
Working in secret with engineers from DARPA, and using Ketchup as lower-cost test fluid, they have developed Heinz, a robot bartender that will be programed to greet customers cheerfully before verifying that they are of legal drinking age and sobriety. The above video leaked from DARPA’s lab, and is thought to be a test conducted in August or September, 2010. Heinz will be deployed in mid-2011, according to Goldberg, to make sure that citizens of the keystone state can enjoy regulated beverages “just like normal people.”