Are robotic wine merchants the future?

Do androids dream of electric champagne? Market analyst Wine Intelligence suggests that, if current novel technologies continue to progress, robotic wine merchants are not out of the question.

Rich Walker, director of Shadow Robot Company, will be attending a Wine Intelligence seminar at the London International Wine Fair.

His company has developed a device known as the Dexterous Hand, designed to replicate human hand movements in situations where it might be dangerous for an actual human to come into contact with materials.

But the device could have unintended applications - such as opening champagne or wine automatically, for the elderly with little strength in their hands, or to speed up serving bottles to customers in bars.

Wine Intelligence suggests that robotic technology could take the industry even further, with robotic wine merchants capable of detecting a customer's mood and recommending a suitable grape or region to match.

The developments are pipe dreams for now, but the technology that would be needed is fast becoming a reality - and the Dexterous Hand is concrete evidence of that.

With that in mind, the next time you get a recommendation from your local wine merchant, look out for a retinal scanner or pheromone detector; they could be in the pipeline.