But what if I want a different beverage, such as Dr pepper?

typed for your pleasure on 1 November 2005, at 1.10 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Rich people’ by the Hospitals

Well, I’ll be. You can purchase a (contemporary version of a) karakuri. Pretty ace!


‘Don’t forget the gratuity, onegai!’

An example of Japan’s first robot is the fascinating Karakuri: Tea Server, designed almost four centuries ago and today remains a remarkable example of Japan’s keen sense of robotics. What does it do? This Kabuki-styled doll approaches surprised guests with a full teacup on a tray; it stops walking when the teacup is taken, waits quietly, bows, then slowly turns around, smoothly scooting away with the empty teacup on its tray. [..] This kit is made of computer designed precision modern materials, but is as close to the original design as possible. The driving force of the original tea-carrying doll came from a spring made of whale whiskers (actually whale teeth). All the other components, such as its gears, body and escapement for speed adjustments, were made of wood. How does it work? When a tea cup is placed on the tray, the stopper is released by the whale spring attached to the doll’s arms; the spring forces the stopper to engage again when the cup is lifted from the tray.

(insert typical comment about Actroid-chan playing with one here)

The karakuri kit is available at this site, and additional info about the history of karakuri can be found here, at the aptly-named http://www.karakuri.info

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2 have spoken to “But what if I want a different beverage, such as Dr pepper?”

  1. SafeTinspector writes:

    Would filling his little cup with an alternate fluid as a gratuity end his mad gyrations?!?

  2. Davecat writes:

    Maybe.. if it was vodka.

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