back to article IBM slaps patent on coffee-delivering drones that can read your MIND

IBM has filed a patent for mood-sensing coffee delivery drones, because what the world really needs is piping hot liquids flying around over everyone's noggins. Big Blue's plans for aerial hot beverage deliveries not only include deliveries of pre-ordered brews but also taxi-style flagging down of aerial drinks. The US Patent …

  1. msknight Silver badge

    What could possibly go wrong?

    ...ummm.....

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      I'll tell you exactly what could go wrong -- someone might actually try to implement this.

      Thankfully, IBM now have a patent on the idea which greatly reduces the chances of this happening. (Basically only IBM can do it and they are too boring to try.)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: What could possibly go wrong?

        >IBM now have a patent on the idea

        You can't patent ideas...

        Whilst I agree the chances of anyone actually trying to sell this as a product is small, I expect others will implement the non-patent and then submit their own variation patent eg. "Drone delivery of donut (or other bun) based on a cognitive state of an individual"... However, I doubt we will see "Drone delivery of prize monies based on a cognitive state of an individual"

    2. tmTM

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      Swap Coffee for Beer and this could work wonders at a large music festival.

      No need to stand at the bar, just have the drone fly across the crowd and bring your (viciously over-priced) lager right to you.

      1. trevorde

        Re: What could possibly go wrong?

        Patent says it could server important or famous people first, so it'd go to whoever is on stage :-(

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: What could possibly go wrong?

          If only there was some technologically advanced organisation able to create a robot that can deliver beer...

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: What could possibly go wrong?

            "Jarvis! Double Absinthe, water - chilled, over sugar, please!"

            "At once sir,"

            I accept the future, with caveats*.

            * 14 Tb text file enclosed.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: What could possibly go wrong?

          Patent says it could server important or famous people first, so it'd go to whoever is on stage :-(

          Are you sure that isn't sever?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: What could possibly go wrong?

        >Swap Coffee for Beer and this could work wonders

        On reading the abstract: "The analysis can include profile data of people, including electronic calendar data, which can be used to determine a potentially predetermined cognitive state." my thoughts were: Must be time for a G&T...

      3. JohnG Silver badge

        Re: What could possibly go wrong?

        "Swap Coffee for Beer and this could work wonders at a large music festival."

        Then some folk will start fitting hooks and nets to festival flag poles, others will bring catapults,....

    3. theblackhand

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      ....a flying coffee drone could get sucked into the intake of Ginni's personal helicopter causing a catastrophic engine failure?

      Oh...sorry, you only wanted to know about bad things

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello

    You look like you want a cup of coffee.

    Guess we know where the guy who got fired for Clippy is working now

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hello

      It's like Talkie Toaster, only with scalding hot beverages and the ability to throw them in your face whether you want coffee or not.

      Now that I put it like that, it sounds disturbingly reminiscent of some "AI"-driven small drone weapon being developed by the usual amoral Silicon Valley scum for the US government. Which unfortunately is where it's more likely such technology would *actually* be deployed.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hello

        Now that I put it like that, it sounds disturbingly reminiscent of some "AI"-driven small drone weapon being developed by the usual amoral Silicon Valley scum for the US government. Which unfortunately is where it's more likely such technology would *actually* be deployed.

        So then: "Hi there. You look like a bad person. Here's live grenade with the pin pulled."????

    2. TRT Silver badge
      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Hello

        "You want dried leaves in boiling water?2

        Possibly- what sort of leaves are they...?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Hello

          Tea leaves. Gourmet shit. Are they good for you? Who knows. I mean, who wants to live forever, right? Especially without one's favourite tasty beverage. To be immortal, without 'T', is to be immoral.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Sport for hoodies

    "Psst, wanna buy some drone spares?"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just coffee

    The sky's the limit for this idea!

  5. EricM

    Pointing out absurdities in current patent system and invasive big-data madness at the same time...

    Well played, IBM :-)

  6. Aaiieeee

    Vacant expression

    I have these leg things which if I put one in front of the other I can move around. Its amazing really.

    Acertaining my own state of mind and getting a coffee if I want one is entirely on me - I prefer it that way! I dont need anyone else deciding what I want or need.

    1. TRT Silver badge
      1. Pedigree-Pete
        Pint

        Re: Vacant expression and Tea....

        or this YouTube clip here. PP

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYRz7tsHYfo

        > Only Beverage icon.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Vacant expression @Aaiieeee

      "A[s]certaining my own state of mind ... is entirely on me - I prefer it that way! I don't need anyone else deciding what I want or need."

      You aren't married, are you?

  7. nuked

    And what if I'm sitting comfortably (and miserably) in my office. Will these drones be coming to my widow?

    This has to be a joke, surely.

    1. baseh

      WIDOW???

      Surely if you are so miserable that you suicide, the drone will take the coffee to your widow, you paid for it so it cannot be binned.

  8. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Judging from the pictures...

    If a guy (400A) orders a coffee, leaves and then the drone finds someone else (400C) standing there at the exact same spot then this guy can tell the drone (200C) to f*ck off ?

    1. Grikath Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Judging from the pictures...

      It's missing the guy with the accurate ballistic weapon....

      Mine's the one with the slingshot in the inner pocket...

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Judging from the pictures...

        Is swatting the problem or is it the solution?

  9. MrKrotos

    heater?

    What batteries will these things have? I fly RC planes and helis and last I checked, heating stuff uses a ton of enegy!

    1. Tromos
      Facepalm

      Re: heater?

      "heating stuff uses a ton of energy"

      Especially when the stuff in question is placed under 4 large cooling fans!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: heater?

      "What batteries will these things have? I fly RC planes and helis and last I checked, heating stuff uses a ton of enegy!"

      From the patent drawings, it goes off to a coffee maker and collects one then delivers it. It doesn't actually make the coffee for you right there and then.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ironic

    Ironic given IBM is so mean, it doesn't even offer coffee/tea to it's staff anymore ....

  11. onefang Silver badge

    Will these oh so clever drones be able to figure out that I only like my caffeine icy cold, with bubbles?

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Cold carbonated caffeine

      Not to mention the flavor preferences: some for the "dark" variety, some for the "citrus".

      I prefer the latter, despite the BVO risk. (I do stay away from the strikingly orange ones.)

      Same argument goes for coffee: sugar? creamer? non-dairy creamer? flavor shots? Will this only deliver strong and black? This is why our office has a Keurig instead of a communal pot: no two people can agree.

  12. fishman

    Delivering coffee....

    Delivering coffee...... By a Drone!

    Sort of like "doing something mundane..... On a Computer!" is the basis of too many patents.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "brings to mind the creepy servo-skulls of the Warhammer 40K universe"

    Flying machine skulls... that's bloody brilliant! It looks like someone built a game based on stuff ripped off from heavy metal album artwork. The sort of things included because (e.g.) Butt-Head would think they were "*cool*!" rather than because they make any sense.

    I'd buy that for a dollar!

    1. TRT Silver badge
  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember when IBM had a grad programme

    to provide drones capable of fetching coffee

  15. Christoph Silver badge

    I see you're all nervous and twitching from your attempts to cut down on your caffeine addiction which is causing you serious health problems. Here, have a cup of coffee to calm you down.

  16. israel_hands

    Replace "glum" with angry and "coffee" with TASER and you've got a pretty effective crowd-control drone.

    The benefit to IBM of masking it a service-drone means their staff won't be up in arms and signing open letters decrying the company execs for building autonomous weapons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      more likely the other way around

      Secret military programme to develop autonomous tear gas dispensing drones gets canned, IBM being out of pocket tell the development team to find a civilian use case.

      Or it may just be an IBM DE/Master Inventor spinning a yarn just to have a batch of prototypes shuttling between his office and the nearest decent coffee shop at company expense..

  17. LDS Silver badge

    So, Wally works for IBM?

    http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-03-25

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: So, Wally works for IBM?

      > http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-03-25

      Can we submit that as "prior art"?

      1. PNGuinn
        Boffin

        Re: So, Wally works for IBM?

        Re prior Art:

        Nah - that shirley goes back to the previous century, and the the nutrimatic vending machine.

        You know, when HAL still knew a thing or two.

        Question - what's more broken - IBM or the US patent system?

  18. John70

    IBM going into the coffee business?

    Stepping on the toes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee?

    Stopping Amazon's Drone Delivery from delivering coffee?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Not the coffee business as such but they'll supply the drones for the hot beverage sellers and their alleged coffee.

  19. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Where did they come up with this nonsense?

    Mining the frustrated and idle past scriblings of bored ex-IBM employees from the many dubiously rich seams of vacant desks?

  20. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Flame

    Fade to Black

    If the beverage is similar to McDonald's coffee, the extreme heat of the beverage is likely to be delivered like a napalm bombing run.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Fade to Black

      Napalm would be more pleasant than McD's sludge.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fill with heat sensitive explosive compound and ...

    The payload delivery mechanism with electric detonator circuit has been successfully flown in under the radar ...

  22. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The proof of concept drawing looks like an XKCD strip.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Bah!

      I refer you to the reply from LDS, above. You are close, but it is actually a Dilbert strip.

  23. Giovani Tapini

    I'm sure

    The substance of this patent reads like the precise actions of an auctioneer just with a drone.think about it!

    As an aside when looking at the abstract drawing it looks like it's dropping a drink at 200°c at first glance. This would not be an attractive proposition?

  24. Dwarf Silver badge

    Been done before

    Talky the Toaster from Red Dwarf - Does Anybody want any toast ?

    I wonder how they will make fresh coffee at the point of dispensing, since as far as I know, it takes a big machine to make nice coffee, then what about all the add-on's that go into coffee these days, funny flavours, toppings and non-cow origin alternatives to milk.

  25. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "if I see someone of high status drinking coffee, I'll want coffee too"

    Um, no. I don't drink coffee. Ever. Not interested.

    I respond quite politely when offered, but the answer is always no thank you.

    And forgive if someone "of high status" having something I don't does not make my brain go into dumb mode and want the same thing.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: "if I see someone of high status drinking coffee, I'll want coffee too"

      Its amusing to see how many times PHBs fail to understand many if not most people will do what they want regardless of what someone else is doing most of the time. There are only a few social events where following the leader is necessary to a degree; but coffee?

  26. Not Enough Coffee

    How stupid, like some drone is going to make a Pavlovian move on me - wait, do I hear an ice cream truck??

  27. Wedge2
    Coat

    Has it really come to this...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't mention coffee to an IBMer

    You can rest assured IBM won't be delivering coffee to any of its own offices. Tea and coffee were banned years ago as an unnecessary expense.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    IT Angle

    DHL, UPS, TNT, IBM

    IBM - The Coffee Delivery Company

    Thomas J. Watson will be spinning in his grave

  31. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Meal delivery

    will be their next target - jeopardizing the "jobs" of Deliveroo riders

  32. aregross

    I lost a fav fishing lure and immediately thought of ordering a new one on Amazon and having it delivered to me in the boat.... Patentable?

  33. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    So delivery via drone is a thing already,....

    ... with the likes of Amazon actively working on it,... but this patent means Amazon can delivery anything to anyone,.... _except_ hot coffee? How does that happen? Mashing existing concepts such as facial recognition and applying it to drone delivery should not be patentable, it's not innovating sticking two existing things together, you should have to invent a new thing.

  34. Securitymoose

    I sense that you are feeling glum. I am told that a hot beverage is the answer

    IBM are patenting the concept of a Flying Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory, in case you are visiting from another planet and haven't seen the show).

    What next? Will we have to sign a contract that indemnifies them if the cup is inverted before it lands?

  35. Securitymoose

    Or a variation on Clippy?

    I see that you are about to throw yourself off a cliff. Please accept this coffee...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised Amazon hadn't got there first as an extension of its delivery drone patents... "people who ordered Karma Sutra also ordered coffee afterwards"

    Does the IBM drone just pick people at random and offer them whatever muck they were carrying? If it knows you have an allergy or weird preference, does it need to fly back to base to get your choice? (meanwhile you have moved or your mood has changed)...

    A more achievable idea would be to tap your Starbucks/Costa app, select exactly what you want, pay for it and have it droned to you, but then IBM would probably not be able to add something like that to their ever expanding pool of patents due to prior art (Amazon, Scott Adams)

  37. David Roberts Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    This paints an engaging picture

    Of someone half way between Starbucks and Costa with an identifiable need for coffee.

    Let the Robot Wars commence!

    Most heavily armed drone wins the sale. Collateral damage covered under Ts and Cs.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terminology

    From the article:

    >IBM has filed a patent for mood-sensing coffee delivery drones

    No. You can file a patent application but it is the Patent Office (in this case the US Patent and Trademark Office) that grants patent. People seem to think you can just file anything and get it granted. In reality about 50 percent of all applications are granted. This one took a bit under 3 years to get granted.

    The USPTO has unfortunately rather bad computer infrastructure (hardware and software) but Google Patents is far more user friendly: US10040551. It is one of the more bizarre patents I have seen, it appears to home in on sleepy people to perk them up with coffee (rather than, say, electroshock.)

    Records show that IBM never brought the application into international phase which indicates they see little use of this. At least some sanity remains. It also means you can use this invention if you so feel in the UK without being stopped by this US patent, in which case I am sure the Reg will be very happy to write an article about it.

  39. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I call prior art

    I think it's been done in a recently published book named "Quality Land" by Marc-Uwe Kling.

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