That's a big guy!
Think you've met the world's biggest bouncer? Think again.
Introducing: Mech "The Bot" Johnson, a human-driven, 9,000-pound, 13-foot-tall, 18-foot-wide robot "bouncer," deployed by Las Vegas' Sapphire Gentleman's club — self-described as "the world's largest gentlemen's club" — last weekend at Las Vegas' annual CES conference.
And boy, is it... something.
— Sapphire Las Vegas (@SapphireLV702) January 5, 2023
According to Forbes, the four-legged robot was designed and constructed by Canada-based engineer Jonathan Tippett, who helms a robotic exoskeleton startup called ExoSapien Technologies. Sapphire Managing Partner Peter Feinstein met Tippett at a separate Las Vegas Conference, Big Boy Toys; shortly thereafter, a plan was hatched to bring Prosthesis, one of Tippett's exoskeletons, to Sapphire for CES.
"It's the bouncer so it has to do its job," said Tippet, "basically just by looking menacing,"
Like the exoskeletons in James Cameron's "Avatar" and "Aliens" movies, or Scrappy Doo's Mr. Bean suit, the robot requires that an operating human sits inside. Thus, the suit is more so an extension of a human's capabilities, rather than a replacement.
That said, Feinstein doesn't think that Mech "The Bot" Johnson would actually be that good of a bouncer, should they ever want to employ it full time — bouncing, he says, requires "more of a hands-on approach than a robot, and it may not be able to react to all the situations we encounter." Sorry, Mech.
Live in Hope
The Sapphire club has experimented with robots before. Back in 2018, the celebrated CES by showing off some decidedly spooky robotic dancers. But despite his penchant for having a lil' technological fun during the city's massive tech conference, Feinstein doesn't think that full-time humanoid bots would resonate very well with his audience.
"I think men, I always say, live in hope," Feinstein reportedly pondered. "I don't see them hoping to be with a robot entertainer. I think they're looking for the real deal."
In any case, here's to both Mech "The Bot" Johnson — as well as the absolutely top-notch Sapphire marketing team. May CES continue to inspire unhinged tech gags for the many tech conferences to come.
READ MORE: I, For One, Welcome Our Strip Club Bouncer Robot Overlords [Forbes]