No robot can replace the pleasure of watching the theatrics of a really skilled bartender flipping glasses and strutting their stuff. But drinkerBot, a bot created for the littleBits 2014 holiday party, offers a different, nerdier enjoyment, allowing you to see four different classic cocktails, as well as a variety of non-boozy drinks, made by a modern-day Rube Goldberg machine.
The drinkerBot, which uses a web app, a cloudBit, and an Arduino module, was designed in about a week by "a cross-disciplinary team of engineers, product designers, graphic designers, ux ninjas, media masters, and cloud aficionados" at the company.
The "ux ninjas" built the user-friendly app, which allows you to choose between a Salty Dog, a Moscow Mule, a Greyhound, or a Gin Ricky, which were chosen for the fact that all these drinks can be made with different permutations of the same six liquids (soda water, lime juice, grapefruit juice, gin, ginger beer, and vodka). A conveyor belt makes an even more entertaining show out of watching the liquids mix and bubble as your cup advances horizontally in the machine.
The drinkerBot shows an appealing face to the public—the designers even spruced it up for their holiday party with some acrylic trim, but since the bot was for the enjoyment of the maker community, they took some pleasure in showing off its guts. Behind its friendly wooden cabinet, which is conveyed on a kitchen cart, live a variety of logic modules that respond to binary signals—basically, voltage sequences—from the Arduino module. Information comes to the Arduino module through a cloudBit, which is the littleBits module that connects to the Internet and IFTTT.
The designers of drinkerBot admit that there were some glitches in the matrix. For example, carbonated beverages and unfinished wood don't work very well with a servo motor system designed for liquids—but they intend to keep refining the project and sharing more specific tips and results, making it easier to recreate wherever the party happens.
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