Beer fridge holds iPad hostage

A hackathon by the engineers over at Yelp produced this iPad-centric beer fridge. A thirsty dude bellies up to the contraption, swipes his or her RFID card, then dispenses a glass of frothy goodness. The iPad display shows information about what’s on tap, and allows you to give it a rating. This is based on kegbot but it has a few extra tricks. Instead of measuring how much beer is left via weight, this version uses a flow sensor on the beer lines. Temperature data is recorded from an analog sensor affixed to the keg itself, and the whole shebang is pulled together via an Arduino connected to the serial port of the iPad. You can even check on the keg over the Internet. See for yourself after the break.


  1. BuRn says:

    Wow I’m almost impressed… but mostly saddened, how bored these guys must really be. I mean sure I appreciate the hard work that went into it, but seriously its Stella! :D
    Although i imagine at home it would be much better, especially to see who has drunk all your beer!

  2. Dave H says:

    An iPad seems like overkill, especially with all the other stuff they had to use – and an Arduino to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

    But I guess the iPad is still new enough that “because I can” is reason enough to use it.

  3. M4CGYV3R says:

    Laughable at best. With all the power of the iPad at your disposal (even if it is a trendy piece of crap) you still resort to an arduino externally? REALLY?

    It would kill you to purpose-build a PIC USB peripheral to check the sensors?

    You guys are complete losers. Enjoy your pretentious beer and no-talent attempt at a hack.

  4. Jac Goudsmit says:

    “…Arduino connected to the serial port of the iPad.”

    Wait a minute… they used an iPad as a $500 serial port terminal? I think you can buy a lot of beer for that kind of money…

  5. Bob says:

    it would have been better to use the RFID to enable a valve to allow you to pour the beer….
    this is just a baby monitor for your beer.. Meh

  6. blue carbuncle says:

    Crom make this stop. Put the RFID tags in the beer so they can’t lose them until they poop or puke. Nevermind…

  7. big pappa says:

    wow, harse critics here. rock on guys. great job.

  8. ratso says:

    They should add an interface to twitter for the lameness trifecta!!

  9. swighton says:

    I don’t really understand why they went with a flow meter rather than weight to gauge the amount of beer left, as weight seems much more absolute. (the flowmeter would really just tell you how much beer had been drunk)
    In order to know how much beer was left using a flow meter you would have to know exactly how much volume of fluid was in the keg to begin with. With a scale all you need is the weight of a keg and the density of the beer at 32f. Bam. You know much beer you have relative to empty. I would bet that a decent scale is a whole lot cheaper than an accurate flowmeter.

  10. Stuart says:

    You guys are quite literally the biggest fucking douchebags ever. Stop being so harsh with your criticisms. It looks cool. It works. It’s a neat idea.

  11. strider_mt2k says:

    Yeah, I have to agree the douchery levels have become surprisingly high in comment land.

    All _I_ was gonna do was make a quip about it learning some manners on Master’s sail barge, but it looks like it’s not that kind of party. :(

  12. James says:

    Would make more sense to let you rate your last beer on your next login?

  13. Stephen says:

    Great job–this is way more intense than the one I created. I opted not to use the flow meter, since as a homebrewer it adds to the amount of equipment to clean/sanitize. I did it by weight, and didn’t use RFID–but that is a great addition. For those who thought the Ipad is an overkill, my project uses only 2 xbees connected to a linux box to report it on the web. It is the poor-man’s version of this! Find it at

  14. ratso says:

    @theCryBabies: Plugging already available units together is NOT a hack.

    More on the credability of the “creators”:

  15. wdfowty says:

    By far the best use of an iPad since Daniel Tosh got a hold of one…

    “We never even turned it on!” -Tosh.0

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