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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Usuform Robot Bartender  
  A robotic bartender that is designed along purely functional lines.  

The Empire, which held sway throughout the solar system, had a problem. Only by negotiating with a key Martian ambassador could necessary access to mining rights be obtained, and this ambassador refused to go off-planet because he couldn't get a decent Three Planets. Only Martian bartenders, with their many tentacles, could make a Three Planets; only they could measure out exactly the right amount of vuzd, for instance. Would it be possible to construct a Three Planets drink with a robot?

I took one sip and said, "Where's Guzub?... this Three Planets, it's perfect..."

Quinby opened a door. There sat the first original Quinby usuform - no remake of a Robinc model, but a brand-new creation. Quniby said, "Three Planets," and he [the robot] went into action. He had tentacles, and the motions were exactly like Guzub's except that he himself was the shaker. He poured the liquids into his maw, joggled about, and then poured them out of a hollow hoselike tentacle."


(Robot Bartender from 'Q.U.R.' by Anthony Boucher)

Technovelgy from Q.U.R., by Anthony Boucher.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
Additional resources -

Here's how Quinby got the information he needed to construct Guzub II, the robot bartender.

"I got one of those new electronic cameras - you know, one thousand exposures per second... So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second. The proper proportion of vuzd, in case you're interested, works out to three-point-six-five-four-seven eight-two-three drops. It's done with a flip of the third joint of the tentacle on the down beat. It didn't seem right to use Guzub to make a robot that would compete with him and probably drive him out of business, so we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties on usuform barkeeps."

By now, you're probably wanting a Three Planets, and you're wondering when robotic tentacles will be up to the task. Take a look at the Snake-Arm Robots From OCRobotics and the OctArm robotic tentacle bot to learn more.

Compare to the Thorsen memory tube from Door into Summer (1956) by Robert Heinlein.

Compare to the robot bartender from The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester.

Thanks to Winchell Chung for suggesting this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Q.U.R.
  More Ideas and Technology by Anthony Boucher
  Tech news articles related to Q.U.R.
  Tech news articles related to works by Anthony Boucher

Usuform Robot Bartender-related news articles:
  - The Miraculous Stigmatabot Robot Bartender
  - Pancake-Flipping Robot Learns By Example
  - Robot Learns To Clean Whiteboard, Suck Up To Teacher
  - Robot Bartender (Or Waiter) From Carnegie Mellon
  - Monsieur Bartending Robot
  - Robot Bartenders At Sea
  - Robots Learn Cooking By Watching Videos - Foreseen In 1943
  - Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
  - NVIDIA's DAVE2 Autonomous Car Learns From Drivers
  - Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
  - Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
  - Barista Robot Perfects Latte Swirl With Multi-DOF Wriggle

Articles related to Robotics
AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
TeslaBot Uber Driver (2024) And The Automatic Motorist (1911)
DiffuseBot Uses Generative AI To Invent New Soft Robots
Ballie Your AI Robot Companion From Samsung

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