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"I identify with the weak person; this is one reason why my fictional protagonists are essentially antiheroes."
- Philip K. Dick

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."

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.

Thanks to Winchell Chung for suggesting this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

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

Articles related to Robotics
Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash

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