Perfect Shots Every Time

A shot is a shot right? Well, not really. Usually we see a sloppy shot poured of a single type of alcohol and, depending on our current standing with the bartender, may or may not be full to the brim.  The Pousse-Cafe makes an art out of your drinks by perfectly layering several liqueurs. Not only will it measure them out perfectly, but it is voice controlled as well. There are 3 liqueurs to choose from, as they were going for a specific, visually appealing drink (otherwise, why bother?). Judging from the pictures it looks like it’s using an arduino in conjunction with a laptop for control.

You can see a video of it in action after the break.

[via Gizmodo]


23 thoughts on “Perfect Shots Every Time

  1. I’m actually building a bigger version of this that accepts 1 liter bottles. Big difference for my system is that the solenoids only pass air and not liquid so they don’t need to be cleaned.

  2. Just to be clear, there is no useful information contained in this post or on the linked site correct?

    Some interesting aspects of completing a project like this were complete omitted from this project. Such as, metered pouring instead of relying on a timed solenoid opening to a column of liqueur with changing volume and unknown viscosity.

  3. @Lenny
    Yeah, voice activated with the word “drink”? Seems like a terrible idea.

    This could be done much faster and metered with a stepper motor/syringe and a valve to choose in/out for liquid direction. I see bartenders pour drinks perfectly in about 10 seconds. I don’t see why a robot would have trouble doing it.

    Funny video though!

  4. Voice activated is not such a good idea. A simple switch (or touch screen for the techies?) would be better.

    It was a little slow, but at some point (with the light yellow and white drinks) it’s needed. Otherwise it would mix and you would not get the effect as seen.

    Nice project. :)

  5. That video made me feel stupid for even watching it. Some points of interest:

    1. Use a sealed liquid resevoir (like the liquor bottle) and use your valve to allow in air rather than liquor out. This will control the flow equally as well, allow (probably) for faster pouring, and require little to no cleaning of the moving parts.

    2. Try a peristaltic pump. The last liquid-pumping project I needed a pump for I stole a peri-pump out of an old cheap-o fog machine. (probably not the best idea for potable liquids)

    3. Voice command is terrible. There is no commercial system I hate more than the corporate phone trees with endless “If you want to ____ say ____ now”. They get it wrong at least half the time, with no accent or connection issues. On top of that, your only voice command appears to be ‘Bartender, Drink’ which can also be handled with a giant blinking red button labeled ‘Drink’ with fewer errors.

    4. To switch a few GPIO pins on or off, or to handle USB I/O, you should use a smaller apparatus than an entire Arduino. Hell, a tiny PIC12F would be plenty for 3 pin control. You can handle all the timing right on the little 8-pin chip, too.

    5. Moar types of drink! Get 5-10 bottles and a library of drinks. You’ll need a slightly larger controller chip to handle valves, but you could shift register or multiplex them if you want to keep the controller simple. You’d only need 3 buttons to make it work(prev, next, pour), and some simple LCD display to show which drink is currently selected.

  6. I’m honestly surprised more people aren’t trolling on this.. if an arduino is over kill for a garage door sensor and a PIC is overkill for an autofire mouse.. how is an arduino AND an intel chip (inside of the mac book pro) not overkill for a drink dispenser???

    Just saying… and again I did really appreciate the video (good presentation)

  7. Keep the good ideas rolling. Maybe someone will build a better one. How about a system that scans your drivers license to verify you are 21? Maybe a payment system that reads your credit card, or lets you punch in a paypal account (perfect for geek parties). Maybe use a camera to take a snap of everyone who orders a drink for later amusement. Come to think of it, I’m surprised bars don’t already have machines dispensing common drinks with great speed. How about modifying a kegarator to better dispense a pint? And where’s the automatic glass setup?

  8. “4. To switch a few GPIO pins on or off, or to handle USB I/O, you should use a smaller apparatus than an entire Arduino. Hell, a tiny PIC12F would be plenty for 3 pin control. You can handle all the timing right on the little 8-pin chip, too.”

    /RANT ON

    I wish people would quit bitching about a certain CPU being too powerful for a task. 90%+ of PCs out there are way over powered for the task they are doing (web browsing and email reading). There is a reason they are being used though – they are cheap and easy. That’s why an “over powered” arduino is used in tons of places where you could get away with something smaller.

    There is no problems at all with using an arduino in this case. It was the quickest way to get to the solution so it was the right choice. If the guy were to make 100,000 of these, it wouldn’t be the right choice.

    A true engineer would realize this fact.


  9. @js


    Clearly, we have a different definition of ‘Cheap’ and ‘Easy’.

    Arduino Dumilanove(or whatever it is): $29.95
    PIC12F__ : $0.75+ (depending on features and size)

    Cheap? PIC wins. You can get about 35 plain micros for the price of a full Arduino.

    Arduino: Crazy Processing/Wiring language.

    Easy? I learned both C and Assembly over a decade ago, I have more experience, and know more about them. Proc/Wiring are strange abstracted high-level languages. I’m gonna say PIC wins again.

    Trying to compare the controlling computer system’s commercially pre-made computer processor to the power of a home-built PIC/Arduino circuit is just blindingly ignorant.


    1. @M4cgyv3r,
      I doubt it was worth the trouble. As with most arduino projects this looks to be quite temporary. The time involved with building the board would have completely changed this projects focus. I’ll bet if they were building something to be more permanent, they would replace the arduino/laptop and probably use something easier to keep clean (different valves).

  10. @M4CGYV3R

    You must be new to embedded development. You can’t just take a PIC12F___ and throw it into thin air and have it work. So 0.75 for a solution is very inaccurate. You need a programmer for it. You need a circuit board for it. The Arduino has both of those covered….and you can get one for less than $20 if you want.

    I’m glad you happy in your world where you can magically make a 75 cent part work with no circuit board and you are smarter than the rest of us because you learned both C and Assembly over a decade ago. Some of us did that also but we like the hack a day articles and don’t mind when someone creates something different from the way we do things. Unfortunately, we have to put up with comments like you when we do.

  11. @M4CGYV3R

    I’ve never used processing, but every time I’ve programmed an arduino it has been straight C++. I believe you are uninformed.

    On a side note you make yourself look foolish by stating the reasons that using a PIC is superior to an arduino because YOU have skills and preferences that are biased towards them (preferences mean nothing in general). Also if we are going to talk about preferences, I would argue that most people would find the high level languages easier (the reason why scientists seem to always use java).

    Arduino development board = apple
    PIC12F = orange

    You can’t compare apples to oranges! One is a bare IC the other a DEV board. However you can compare the PIC12F to an ATmega168 which costs $3.80 – very reasonable for a one off prototype.

    Also your are ignorantly ignoring the benefits of a ready made development board for prototyping. Sure if you look at component cost alone the PIC is cheaper, but if you include the time to build the support circuitry and write machine code its very easy for the cost of the PIC to eclipse the arduino (if you are producing one unit). It can also got he other way if you suck at C++ and are good at assembly.

    The bottom line is this – if you are making a one off prototype its useless to argue the cost differences. Use whatever prototyping tool you are comfortable with, and that gets the job done quickest because labor is pretty much the highest cost.

  12. @M4CGYV3R
    You wrote:
    “Trying to compare the controlling computer system’s commercially pre-made computer processor to the power of a home-built PIC/Arduino circuit is just blindingly ignorant.”

    What does that even mean? I think the comparison made by js made a lot of sense. Your comment on the other hand just sounds like someone ignoring what was said and spewing nonsense/insults.

  13. @Tom Levesque: My system is going to for the home version be wifi controllable so you can order drinks before you enter a room (with convayer for cups and sensor to make sure cup is present) I also am thinking about making a commercial version that can be rented for events that accepts paypal & credit card to help bartenders during busy times.

  14. that is a good point, most people see an arduino powering something its automatically assumed that somehow the wires are forever fused into that arduino and the atmega can never be reprogrammed again

    when its just a mcu on a breakout board with (usually) some Ethernet scraps jammed into the hole

    also the arduino language is just a C wrapper to make it more friendly to noobs, within the arduino IDE (which even that isnt processing, its plain java) there is nothing stopping you from breaking into plain C/Cpp/Asm at any time

    If you dont like that “IDE” (I really mean crappy editor with buttons) just go into avr studio, or anything else that can bang against avrgcc, all it is, is a chip with a serial bootloader on it

    Its just a good platform for people not living in their mom’s basement learning how to twiddle bits with a needle and a battery for a decade, and as you get better at it you can at any point “start shedding the skin”

    What’s wrong with that? other than some elitist crying buthurt …

  15. Not sure if I have missed the point of this contraption?

    Here in the UK, spirits are not sold by the shot, but by the unit. 25ml is a single (shot), 50ml is a double.

    These units are regulated by law.

    On the bottom of spirit bottles in bars we have what I would call “spirit dispensers” (do a google image search). It’s like a storage ball that holds and dispenses a unit. When the glass is taken away, it refills itself and waits for the next glass to come along.

    It has been like this over here for s long as I remember.

    Having people blindly pouring spirits seems like a seriously flawed system to start with.

  16. This makes me need to clean up my drink bot post. Eventually I will get code and schematics posted. If you want to just see pictures look at my website. My bot has 6 bottles and uses solenoids in about the same way although I got much better flow. My code is not set up to do layered shots, it is much better suited for mixed drinks. All of the needed valves open at the same time.

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