UbaBOT Mixes Up 50 Cocktails To Quench CCCamp Thirst

[Steffen Pfiffner’s] tent during the Chaos Communication Camp is full of happiness delivered by something greater than alcohol alone. He’s brought a robot bartender that serves up a show while mixing up one of about 50 cocktail recipes.

The project is the work of five friends from Lake Constance (Bodensee) in southern Germany, near the borders with Switzerland and Austria. It started, as many projects do, with some late night drinking. The five were toiling to mix beverages more complex than your most common fare, and decided to turn their labors instead to robot making.

Since 2012, the project has gone through five revisions, the most recent of which the team calls Uba BOT. Delightfully, the cup tray which moves left and right on the front of the machine is connected using a strain gauge. This provides a way for the robot to sense the presence of a cup to avoid dispensing ingredients all over the bar itself. It also provides a feedback loop that verifies the amount of liquids and volume of ice added to the cup. Once everything’s in the cup, a rotary milk frother lowers itself into position to stir things up a bit.

A Raspberry Pi is in control of eighteen pumps that dispense both liquor and mixers. The team is still trying to work out a way to reliably dispense carbonated mixers, which so far have been a challenge due to over-excited foam. The software was originally based on Bartendro, but has since taken on a life of its own as these things often do. The first time you want a drink, you register an RFID tag and record your height, weight, and age which keeps track of your estimated blood alcohol content based on time and your number of visits to the robot. The firmware also tracks the state of each ingredient to alert a meat-based bar attendant of when a bottle needs replacing.

Join us after the break to see an explanation of what’s under the hood and to watch Uba BOT mix up a Mai Tai.

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Cocktail Barbot Takes Things Up A Level

Mixing a cocktail is considered as much an art as a science. The practice is studied dilligently by bartenders the world over. Of course, for any given human task, there’s always another human building a robot to automate it. [CamdenS5] is one such human, with a cocktail mixing barbot with a few tricks up its sleeve.

As you’d expect, there’s a smattering of the usual alcoholic liquids and mixers, along with a battery of pumps for fluid delivery. The fun doesn’t end there, though. There’s a linear actuator capable of putting out 500 N for slicing limes, and a mint and sugar dispenser as well. If that wasn’t enough, there’s even a muddling station to help bring out the flavours just right.

This is a machine that takes a broader look at the process behind making a good cocktail. It’s not just about lumping ingredients into a glass – it takes finesse and care to get the best results. It’s not the first barbot we’ve seen – this one is built in a grandfather clock.

Order Drinks With Your Mind

Barbots are a popular project around these parts. With a few pumps and a microcontroller or two, it’s possible to build something that can approximate mixing a drink. If you’ve got the patience and attention to detail, you can probably even get it to the point where it doesn’t just end up as a leaking wet mess on your mantlepiece. [Robert] has taken his build a step further by adding mind control.

To achieve this feat, a Mindflex EEG headset is pressed into service. This picks up brainwaves from the user, and processes them into two output values of concentration and meditation. Through some careful hacking, it’s possible to retrieve these values. [Robert] sends the values over Bluetooth to the barbot controller for processing. Concentration values over a certain threshold are used to cycle through the drink selection, while meditation values are used to confirm the order. Once it’s made, a voice command to “hit me” will see the drink served.

It’s a tidy build that adds a bit of fun to an already cool project. We’d love to see this taken up several levels of complexity to the point where you can directly order the drink you want, just by the power of thought. If your university-grade research project is at that level, be sure to let us know. Else, if you’re interested in how the barbot came to be, check out [Robert]’s earlier work.

 

DIY Peristaltic Pump Keeps The Booze Flowing

A few months ago we showed you a bar bot built by [GreatScott] that uses peristaltic pumps to food-safely move the various spirits and mixers around behind the curtain. The bar bot uses three of them, and at $30 each for pumps with decent flow rate, they added a lot to the parts bill. These pumps are pretty much the ideal choice for a bar bot, so what do you do? [GreatScott] decided to see if it was worth it to make them instead.

Peristaltic pumps are simple devices that pump liquids without touching them. A motor turns a set of rollers that push a flexible tube against a wall. As the motor turns, the rollers move liquid through the tube by squeezing it flat from the outside in turns. Typically, the more you pay for an off-the-shelf peristaltic, the higher the flow rate.

[GreatScott] figured it was cheaper to buy the motor and the control circuitry. He chose a NEMA-17 for their reputation and ubiquity and a DRV8825 controller to go with it. The pump is driven by an Arduino Nano and a pot controls the RPM. After trying to design the mechanical assembly from scratch, he found [Ralf]’s pump model on Thingiverse and modified it to fit a NEMA-17.

The verdict? DIY all the way, assuming you can print the parts. [GreatScott] was trying to beat the purchased pumps’ flow rate of 100mL/minute and ended up with 200mL/minute from his DIY pump. Squeeze past the break for the build video and demonstration.

Is there a bar bot build on your list? No? Is it because you’re more of a single-malt scotch guy? Build a peristaltic pachyderm to pour your potion.

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Open Source Barbot Needs Only Two Motors

Most drinkbots are complicated—some intentionally so, others seemingly by design necessity. If you have a bunch of bottles of booze you still need a way to get it out of the bottles in a controlled fashion, usually through motorized pouring or pumping. Sometimes all thoe tubes and motors and wires looks really cool and sci fi. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a really clean design.

[Lukas Šidlauskas’s] Open Source Barbot project uses only two motors to actuate nine bottles using only a NEMA-17 stepper to move the tray down along the length of the console and a high-torque servo to trigger the Beaumont Metrix SL spirit measures. These barman’s bottle toppers dispense 50 ml when the button is pressed, making them (along with gravity) the perfect way to elegantly manage so many bottles. Drink selection takes place on an app, connected via Bluetooth to the Arduino Mega running the show.

The Barbot is an Open Source project with project files available from [Lukas]’s GitHub repository
and discussions taking place in a Slack group.

If it’s barbots you’re after, check out this Synergizer 4-drink barbot and the web-connected barbot we published a while back.

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Drinking With Your Robot

We’ve seen tons of bartending robots before, but we’re not sure we’ve ever seen a robot that actually drinks with youUntil now anyway.

Designed and built by a South Korean inventor, [Eunchan Park], he built this robot to drink with, quite literally.

The story goes that he tried drinking alone in 2012 because he did not have a girlfriend at the time. He didn’t enjoy drinking alone and promptly stopped. But then recently he tried drinking with two glasses on the table, and cheers himself when drinking. According to him, the alcohol tasted much better that way, which drove him to build Drinky, the Alcohol Drinking Robot.

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In Soviet Russia, Drink Serves You

There’s just something about having an automatic bartending machine that screams “we’re in the future now” — and it’s a future we approve of. This project is called the Alkomat (Google Translate), and it’s a handy little machine capable of mixing drinks for five people at a time.

Inspired by the RumBot, [Strn] wanted to practice his hand at hardware integration and product development from idea to creation — and just looking at some of the photos of this, he did a damn good job.

On the inside of Alkomat is a recycled inkjet XY carriage which can index on each of the five drinks. A series of four tubes feed up to peristaltic pumps that provide alcohol from the bar rack. Once he had the hardware sorted out and operational, he set out to make the machine look as presentable as possible. Using a mixture of counter-tops and laminated wood panels from furniture, he’s boxed up the whole thing and made it look like something you might actually be able to buy from a store — maybe IKEA?

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