A €2 million marine robot called Étaín, developed by the University of Limerick, took the unusual step of ‘christening itself’ before it was launched into the Limerick city docks last month.
The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), funded by The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), will be used to inspect, repair and maintain marine renewable energy facilities, according to its creators.
Designed to operate in “challenging wind, wave and tidal conditions” the robot has another string to its bow – it can open and “drink” a bottle of Champagne.
Speaking to Wine Spectator, research assistant Oriana Baric said: “We made several rehearsals to make sure the bottle [was] opened nicely for the official launch” although due to the lack of underwater vineyards, they would not be developing any further wine-specific robots.
The wine industry already has some experience with robots, with the likes of Ted, VineScout and drones being increasingly used in the vineyards. Last year, it was announced that Port producers Symington Family Estates was helping to trial a new robot designed to monitor vines in areas where human labour is in short supply.
Other robotic drinks inventions include a vine pruner, a beer pong player, a bartender, a beer-detecting ‘tongue’, and a six-foot half-tonne wine rack.
based on: The Drink Business