Bartendro robotic drink mixing system.. so close to funding.. (via Kickstarter)
In my opinion, there are not enough robots that use the open source platform to engage the community with the goal of improving partying. But this could be changing thanks to the Bartendro. Pierre Michael and Robert Kaye, creators of the aptly named company, Party Robotics, have come up with a robot that will mix you the perfect cocktail every time with just a tap on your smartphone or tablet.
Michael and Kaye did countless hours of research into building a robotic mixed drink dispenser and they found that the big hurdle to jump was cost. Fixed volume liquid dispensers, usually meant for industrial or medical applications, could cost up to $300 for just one and leaving little room for hobbyists. Instead, the duo decided to build their own and not only that, but make their hardware design and linux-based software available to anyone by making it an open source project.
After two years of experimentation and testing, Michael used his manufacturing experience and his own CNC machine to make the best pump for the dispensers. The team quickly chose to use peristaltic pumps that use rollers to squeeze liquid through flexible food grade tubing (in a similar fashion to the gastrointestinal tract) as a way of delivering an accurate amount of liquid with every revolution of the motor. This ensures that no liquid ever touches moving parts. The team claims their custom pump delivers volumes of liquid accurate to the nearest milliliter. A downside to the current dispensing mechanism is that it cannot handle carbonated drinks.
This pump combined with the necessary electronics composes a complete dispenser and is decorated with fully programmable LEDs. Each dispenser is controlled with a modified Arduino controller. An RPi computer creates a designated Wi-Fi access point used to reach the Bartendro user interface. This interface can be accessed using any browser once you are connected to the Bartendro Wi-Fi. The user can browse the selection of drinks from their phone or computer and their selection is then sent to the Arduino from the RPi via a router board and Ethernet cables. Drinks can be served in many sizes while remaining proportionally accurate so even the small taster delivers the full punch of any drink.
The Bartendro works hard to serve one mixed drink in about 10 seconds and upwards of 200 drinks a night, so you better tip well. As the administrator of your Bartendro, you can access the admin webpage that allows you to customize the drink menu layout, change recipes of drinks, see reports on how many drinks of what kind were made and engage the cleaning function built into the Bartendro. To clean you simply switch the beverage bottles with a bucket of warm soapy water and turn on the cleaning procedure. The robotic bartender is modular, lightweight and portable. It is available in different sizes although the smaller version includes a miniRouter which can only handle up to 3 dispensers. The larger versions with a complete router board can mix up to 15 different beverages. The team is particularly excited about the opportunity to create an open source drink database unlike any before. Users from all over the globe will be able to share their experiments, drink recipes and their modifications to the Bartendro equipment by accessing an online archive.
In order to make the dream of a robotic bartender accessible to everyone, the team is taking the Kickstarter route and asking for contributions from the public. Smaller versions of the full size Bartendro 15 are available offered as Bartendro 3 and 7 along with a single shot bot. The project has 17 days to go and is close to its $135,000 goal with $133,674. Individual dispensers and 24V power supplies will also be available if successful. The single shot bot goes for $300 and the Bartendro 15 will set you back $5,000.
Although the bot is meant to serve drinks, there are many possible uses for the hardware such as implementation in brewing systems or hydroponic farming. The team only states that it is not suitable for handling medical applications. The team also wants DIYers to create additional mechanisms or systems that can vend ice, or even tell if someone has had one too many. The possibilities are endless! Share your sobering ideas at partyrobotics.com.
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