Your next barista could be a coffee-delivering drone.
IBM has filed a patent for an unmanned aerial vehicle that's capable of dropping off a cup of coffee to employees or café customers before they even ask for one.
The drone would use sensors to determine when someone wants a drink, by looking for specific hand gestures, or by assessing their 'pre-determined cognitive state.'
It would then fly over to the person, with the drink attached to the device via a drink holder, such as a plastic bag, and deliver the coffee.
In one example, coffee is shown as being dispensed directly from the drone and into a person's mug.
The patent describes how the drone would determine a person's 'cognitive state' to assess if they need a cup of joe.
'The assessment and estimate is based on any of: sleep quality, electronic calendar, biometrics, blood pressure, pupil dilation, facial expression analysis, the time an individual woke up in the morning, and gesture analysis,' the document states.
These factors would be detected via some kind of Fitbit-style wearable, or by analyzing a person's calendar.
Drones may also be connected to a server, which would dictate where the device should go next.
It would even factor in users' habits around coffee consumption to predict when and where it would need to deliver a cup next.
'Coffee consumption often has a habitual or ritualistic aspect to it, with many individuals having coffee to start their day, punctuate a mid-morning break or as an after dinner activity,' the patent explains.
'Over time, a system of the disclosure can learn times and places at which an individual tends to prefer to consume coffee and can use that history to adjust its [corresponding confidence level] for a particular person or place.'
Of course, the drone can also accommodate users' 'preference profiles,' or in other words, it can deliver coffees with milk or filter coffees.
Interestingly, the patent also describes using the drone's biometric sensors for other purposes.
If someone is too drunk, the drone would be able to cut them off from ordering another drink, by picking up on unpredictable movements and slurred speech.
The patent comes as IBM has been exploring other drone technologies, such as a fleet of drones that can pass packages mid-air.