This Japanese tea serving robot showed up on a few places on the ‘net today. I have long wondered if anyone would ever offer one of these in kit form and now I have my answer.
You can get one from the Robotstore for $90US ($170US if your a wimp and can’t build it from the kit).
The driving force of the original tea-carrying doll came from a spring made of whale whiskers (actually whale teeth). All the other components, such as its gears, body and escapement for speed adjustments, were made of wood. How does it work? When a tea cup is placed on the tray, the stopper is released by the whale spring attached to the doll’s arms; the spring forces the stopper to engage again when the cup is lifted from the tray.