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JADAK integrates RFID communication interface into its products ••• Frost & Sullivan names Smartrac RFID Global Solutions Company of the Year ••• Harting Technology Group unveils IIoT and automation technologies ••• Infineon intros IoT cloud localization services and security solutions ••• ABI Research reports auto makers leading smart manufacturing advances ••• Startup  Robolab raises funding to develop RFID-capable AI robot bartender ••• Rigado gateway uses Amazon Web Services IoT features, Bluetooth sensors.
By Rich Handley

Startup  Robolab Raises Funding to Develop RFID-Capable AI Robot Bartender

Robolab, a service robotics startup based in Estonia, has closed its second seed investment round of €650,000 to build an AI-powered robot bartender called Yanu. The company offers RFID as a payment option, or the technology can be tied to a user's recognition system—for instance, a nightclub loyalty and payment card, or for similar uses. The prototype will be ready within a month, the company reports, then will proceed to the testing stage. According to Robolab, the first machines will soon be up and running for commercial use, and the firm anticipates that its initial clients will incorporate RFID technology.

Yanu is a portable, fully autonomous bartending unit utilizing AI technology to make the process of serving drinks more efficient and precise. The robotic bartender takes orders, processes payments, and mixes and serves cocktails, nearly without human personnel. Yanu also utilizes chatbot technology, allowing the unit to communicate with clients, remember their drink preferences and offer local sightseeing tips.

Funded by angel investors and the Nostro Capital fund, Robolab will run an ICO with a $10 million hardcap from October of this year, to build community and raise additional money for scaling up production. Angel investors who fund the project by more than $150,000 will be among the first owners of Yanu, and will receive tokens to purchase beverages that will work on any of the devices. Purchases made via tokens will receive a substantial discount.

"For us, this a great opportunity to build our global community and let retail investors be part of our growth story, plus blockchain enables us to solve several problems," said Alan Adojaan, Robolab's CEO, in a prepared statement. Yanu is designed to solve bottlenecks in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, such as rising labor costs, human error, high staff turnover and a lack of sufficient training, while returning valuable square footage back to business owners. Due to Yanu's complete automation, it can reduce cost per drink by serving 100 to 150 drinks per hour. A similar performance would otherwise require up to four full-time workers, Robolab claims.

The first robots are expected to hit the market in early 2019. Yanu will initially be distributed at airports, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues globally, as well as on cruise ships. A video of the machine is available here.

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