Do you like to have complete control over how your cup of tea is made? If so, you may have a surprising new use for that old Nokia Brick dumb phone that’s been at the bottom of your parts bin for the past 15 years. You’d be forgiven for being skeptical, but English design house Running in the Halls (Rith) has done just that for Guy Martin of North One Television.

The project, which was commissioned for a new series on AI, lets Martin order a cup of tea from a robot by sending SMS text messages from the Nokia. The build can be broken down into two broad parts: the ordering system, and the brewing system. The ordering system uses a simple AI chatbot to find out what kind of tea Martin wants by sending him texts asking questions like if he’s feeling tired or not.

Once the AI determines what kind of tea would suit Martin’s current mood (such as how strong it is, if it has milk, etc.), it directs a Rube Goldberg machine-esque robot to brew it. RITH admits they were heavily inspired by Doc Brown’s morning routine machine from Back to the Future, and it definitely shows. The robot uses a complex series of servos and valves to brew the desired cup of tea, made to Martin’s tastes at the moment.

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