ROBROS was founded in 2020 with the vision of blurring the boundaries between humans and robots through innovation – especially in the service industry. The necessary high-tech skills are attained by bringing together disciplines such as robotics, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, as well as user interface design, user experience design, branding and interior design. The company is trying to achieve the safe, fluid interaction of humans and robots and, ultimately, the forward-looking renewal of the service industry.

Interview with ROBROS

Red Dot: You developed BETTER THAN YOURS, a café with robot baristas and no human personnel. What kind of things did you focus on for these interactions between humans and non-humans?
ROBROS: Well, we wanted to create a new user experience driven by the initial effect of the customers’ fascination with the robots. We created a space where robots not only serve coffee from a machine, but also prepare customers’ beverage orders to their exact instructions while they wait. But we were also keen to make all processes intuitive and convenient, from order to collection. And safety is another important factor, which is why we made sure the robots were designed for simple maintenance and customer safety.

What are the advantages of robots in sales spaces?
There are many advantages. Robots allow us to automate routine tasks so that human personnel can take care of higher-quality activities. Also, salesrooms can stay open all year round because robots don’t take breaks or holidays. That reduces costs and time expenditure on training, while simplifying stock management. Moreover, robots can be used to collect and analyse data that contributes to a better understanding of consumer behaviour.

What kind of reactions to the café did you get from the public?
The reactions were very positive. Customers who feel uncomfortable dealing with staff can order their coffee without any inhibitions, and they benefit from having the robots prepare their drinks according to their meticulous instructions. The trendy interior, the hip music, the robots’ wait poses – which make them look as if they were enjoying the music – and their movements when preparing the drinks are all perceived in a positive way, setting BETTER THAN YOURS apart from other robot cafés. The customers tend to humanise the robots. They think they’re adorable and want to take photos with them.

Do robots really make better coffee than people?
Robots aren’t capable of making coffee on their own. They need humans to teach them all the steps in the process and the movements involved. But if there comes a time when robots are able to learn the sensory skills and judgement of a barista, and interfaces can be designed for smoother communication and enhanced interactions with customers, they will be able to outperform humans and deliver a more efficient, higher-quality service.