Heineken 0.0 last week unveiled a new “zero contact bar” in Sydney as part of its Now You Can drink beer with zero alcohol campaign.
The bar in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst was operating for four days to give patrons a glimpse into how liquor service could change in coming months.
The “first-of-its-kind” pop-up bar comes at a time when hotels and clubs are facing tighter restrictions to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
The Heineken Zer0.0 Contact Bar uses new technology to create a service that means no person-to-person contact is necessary before the beer is consumed.
A contactless robotic arm, developed by a team of robotics students from the University of Sydney, is the venue’s centrepiece.
Experimental robotics course
Heineken 0.0 is served by two robotic arms, dubbed Heidi and Ken, and delivered via a conveyor belt.
The bar only allowed one person in at a time, with beer provided free to complement the company’s “alcohol-free, contact-free” campaign.
“We challenged some of our students, who recently completed an experimental robotics course, to create a robotic, contactless solution by delivering samples to Heineken’s customers,” says Professor Stefan Williams, Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Sydney and Australian Centre for Field Robotics marine robotics expert.
“The students programmed the robots to recognise when customers approach the bar and then hand them a beverage.
“Exploring this concept and putting it into practice, was a great way for our students to leverage the work they had done in their lab class.”