Tweeting Beer Dispenser Requires Co-worker Approval


Having been faced with an empty beer fridge one too many times the team at Metalworks came up with an approval system for dispensing malted beverages. The trick was to remove the physical controls on a can dispenser. The only way you can get a cold one is to ask the machine via its twitter account. If there’s beer inside, it waits for one of your approved co-workers to give the go-ahead.

There are two versions of the machine. The first is a hacked¬†refrigerator with a dispenser hole cut in the door. This resides in their Sydney office, apparently doesn’t work all that well, and is only shown in the video after the break.

The image above is version 2.0 which is located at their Singapore branch. It’s a much smaller device, but works very well since it started as a commercially available can dispenser. You can see the Arduino Leonardo and breadboard which make up the driver circuits.

There aren’t a ton of details on this, but it’s not hard to find about a million examples of an Arduino using Twitter. Here’s one that takes Morse code as an input and posts the message as a Tweet.

6 thoughts on “Tweeting Beer Dispenser Requires Co-worker Approval

  1. Thanks for the write-up, Mike. The trick was to use a Rails app to handle some of the more complex authorisation and parsing of Twitter’s realtime Stream API – all of this proved too complex for Arduino.

    Another learning is that JSON parsing of the (formerly Pachube) API via Arduino’s HTTPClient is buggy. The HTTP headers can be difficult to parse reliably, so we’ve found that MQTT via Cosm is a much more reliable, stable protocol for basic InternetOfThings communications.

  2. Wow, nice build. First thing, however, is how can I get a job at this place where you can drink beer at work? It takes care of one of the three aspects of my perfect job. Now, if you tell me they sit on the couch and play video games, then it would be my perfect job (taking care of the other two aspects of the perfect job).
    Thanks for the heads up on Cosm also.

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