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KegDroid: Combining Arduino, Android, and NFC to Dispense Beer

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the red-solo-cup-sales-down dept.

Android 48

mikejuk writes, quoting I Programmer: "If you are looking for an exciting hardware project, KegDroid deserves a look. It is a sophisticated system that involves Android, Arduino, NFC, plumbing and — beer. Perhaps the final stroke of genius is to package the whole thing in a Droid body. Some how the little green fella looks at home on the bar. You have heard of desktop and laptop apps now we have bartop apps to add to the list" Details are fuzzy currently, but from all appearances this is a repackaged KegBot in a very fancy shell. (Video for those without Flash.)

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droid body? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853473)

Better be a sex Droid. George Lucas stole my R2D2 keg.

Batter in the batter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853523)

Employers really should make an effort to treat their employees better. Disgruntled employees are a creative bunch and will find endless creative ways to 'get back' at you.

I am employed at a food products facility and I routinely go all 'Peter North' into the product. I wouldn't do this if I really thought it would hurt anyone, but it doesn't and the product is cooked thouroughly afterwards.

Could I get in trouble? I mean, legal trouble, beyond just being canned? Probably, if caught. But I'm familiar enough with the facility and procedures that I can launch some stringy ropes every week or two without much worry. And the sense of satisfaction I get every time they do some new stupid thing to piss off the employees, is, quite simply, priceless.

did similar (4, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853579)

No where near as cool as this, but I did do a similar project several years ago. Holds a party keg of Guinness. []

Re:did similar (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853795)

That's pretty slick. Nice work.

Re:did similar (1)

JaneTheIgnorantSlut (1265300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855983)

Nice, but there is a call for you, a lawyer for George Lucas.

Re:did similar (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856431)

Been doing star wars props for years. He is actually very friendly towards the 1 off and small run of things. There are clubs that specialize in it like the R2 Builders club, the 501st Stormtrooper legion and many others that are all fan made and fan driven. the 501st works directly with Lucas Film on many promotional and such.

Re:did similar (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856519)

No where near as cool as this ...

I should hope not, Guinness should be room temp!

Kidding aside, that's awesome.

actually, Guiness is served "cool" (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857405)

Guiness is generally served at cellar temperature, or around 10C (50F). I don't know if it's still around, but when I was in a pub in England a while back it was available as "cold" and "extra cold".

Re:actually, Guiness is served "cool" (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858433)

I'm told by the British chap at work that "extra cold" is for the damn yanks. In his words "You yanks wouldn't need to keep your beer so bloody cold if it didn't taste so bad!"

Re:did similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39858627)

Both you and the guy in the story put more effort into the keg housing, but we did something similar for the house kegerator in my ski share and I think we did the software better. Software features that made ours better than this one:

  • * Authentication was done using facial recognition: it would suck to have to look for your phone or other NFC/RFID device when you want a beer.
  • * Entirely monitorable and configurable online: this made deciding whether to get a keg before coming up to the mountains easy. We could control the temperature remotely and even tell who should be pitching in what for the new keg because we had detailed records as to how much everyone drank. Ever checked how much beer you drank the night before while riding up a chair lift? I have.
  • * Integrated drinking games: At the beginning of the season, everyone pitched in $150 to compete in three separate events ($50/ea). At the end of the season, the app tallied the scores to determine who drank the most over the entire season, the most over a 24 hour period and the most over a 1 hour period.

If the software hadn't been tied so closely with our hardware setup, we would have released the source.

No iPad version. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853599)

There was also an iPad version, but Apple banned it because they don't support third party intoxications. Apple users are only permitted to be intoxicated by their devotion to Apple.

Let me stop you right there. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853789)

"Drinking beer has gotten to be very boring for me"

Clearly you're doing it wrong.

Re:Let me stop you right there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853999)

that and if I had to hear him say "ardweenoe" one more time I was going to kick the cat

Leading us to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39853793)

R2-O-MyAchingHead and Droid Goggles!!!

I still Want... (2)

JudasPreist (2530344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853903)

The app that had the beer pouring continuously out of the phone. That would be a great one. Impossible, yes, but great. This would be more useful if I could program a bot to pick one up from a designated location and then deliver it to a certain point with several delivery locations. That way your droid bot could serve out ice cold brewskies and you don't have to miss any of the game. No pre-existing hardware needed. As long as there is a path of no resistance, bingo, fresh beer.

To much foam (2)

wizkid (13692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853939)

When they get kegdroid to pour a beer without foam, then I'll consider it.

Re:To much foam (1)

Naso540 (2304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854065)

This is an awesome project / prototype! I have a keg fridge in the garage and I totally need one of those to pick from a couple beer options. But why not go with biometric and a thumb??

Re:To much foam (3, Funny)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855747)

But why not go with biometric and a thumb??

I guess you could go thumb now that Arduino runs on Arm.

Re:To much foam (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39854219)

When they get kegdroid to pour a beer without foam, then I'll consider it.

It would be faster to just pour your own beer, and with 90% less foam.

Re:To much foam (2)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855033)

It was quite telling when he said "It's very foamy today" in a slightly embarrassed voice as if he knew that always happens but didn't want to give that impression.

This is also one of the few times when the comments on youtube are not rabid and insulting, to the point that they are even trying to help!

Yes the line was empty, but I fear he will always have this problem with that flow rate and the location of the solenoids. For a more smooth pour I recommend that he use bottle fillers. They fill from the bottom. I would be much more impressed if there were sensors detecting the size of glass, quality of pour via camera thermometers etc.

screamingservers in reply to Micah Munger 5 hours ago

The analysis of the location of the solenoids is mostly where the problem coming from. In my experience with building kegerators, I have found issues with the gas getting knocked out of solution causing foam up in the lines when placing any kind of intermediary connection away from the tap itself. If he made the line from the tap to the solenoid almost nothing, then it would likely become almost a non-issue.

majostm in reply to screamingservers 1 hour ago

Re:To much foam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39859817)

I don't believe that the foam issue was systemic. The pour was fine on the other side.

Re:To much foam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855585)

Less foam? Yes.
Without foam? Are you crazy?

Net login just for beer? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39853961)

So no internet, no beer?

Free as in Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39854159)

it had to be said

what a lazy project (4, Interesting)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854221)

"Despite all the fancy electronics and the UI, it still seems to be difficult to get a glass of beer rather than a glass of mostly foam. Surely there is some solution to this problem in a combination of hardware and software?"

It doesnt even work!
What they added:
- a touch interface which downloads your facebook photo
- solenoids to control the beer taps (useless)
- thats it

And to answer the authors question, the reason they are probably getting too much head is any one of the following:
1) incorrect temperature
2) wrong diameter / length of beer hose
3) wrong PSI on c02 injection
4) its overcarbinated because of point #3 and needs to bleed
5) contamination
6) air leaks in tap / fittings
7) unlcean equipment

Im all for novelty, but this is crap. If you want to see a better project, here are 358 pages of them: "Show us your keggerator" [] thread.

Re:what a lazy project (4, Informative)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854453)

To be fair, all it does is open and close the valve to control whether it should or shouldn't give beer. The guy is doing the rest of the work and it looks like he's never poured a keg before.

  • He doesn't use a clean glass. He should first rinse the glass in cold water to clean and cool it.
  • He opens the tap just a bit, this guarantees to create a lot of foam. He should open and close it completely and quickly.
  • The angle is wrong; he should start at about 45 degrees and then gradually move it towards a vertical position. Holding the glass at a too small angle like he does will generate too much foam.

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39864993)

He can't pour beer for shit.

He needs to add one of these:

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854655)

Point 3 is where you're going wrong. If it uses CO2 delivery, it's not beer, it's some pishy fizzy drink.

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855101)

Enjoy your flat beer bro

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855809)

You have no idea how draft beer works, do you?

Re:what a lazy project (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855851)

Yes, I do. I never go near the filthy stuff.

If it's not on hand-pump, it's not beer.

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856009)

Enjoy contaminating your beer with oxygen and wild bacteria. Not everyone goes through a whole keg every day in their home bar.

Re:what a lazy project (1)

kd5zex (1030436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856299)

wild bacteria

As opposed to tame bacteria?

Re:what a lazy project (1)

Tombstone-f (49843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858731)

As opposed to tame bacteria?

Of course, he means as opposed to cultured bacteria that you purposely added to your beer: []

Re:what a lazy project (1)

kd5zex (1030436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39859491)

I'll be damned...

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39858817)

Please provide a link to a project of your own that clearly demonstrates your "n3r0 m4dski11z".

Re:what a lazy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39861605)

the real issue is the flow meter. The impeller is agitating the beer. That and probably a combination of items on your very good list. My guess is 2 and 3 from the quick look inside.

Self Service Bar (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854331)

I could see this being kind of cool for "self service" at a bar. However, at home it seems rather lame. Too many steps between me and my beer.

Uber-fanboy-awesomeness (1, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854345)

Let's just count the buzz-circles:

  1. Android: +3 (computer, free, linux)
  2. Arduino: +3 (artsy, blinky, shiny)
  3. Beer: +1
  4. synergy points for overlapping circles of idiocy: 3

We got a 10!

That's like scrap-booking while sitting on a Martha Stewart chair cushion and sipping pink Zinfandel.
That's like wearing a beer hat with a chewing tabacco dispenser while noodling for catfish.

Well, if you are going to involve a computer.... (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854433)

Maybe put one of these in while you are at it. []

If you are thinking of driving home, it would be a helluva lot cheaper if this device told you about it before the Highway Patrol does.

Boring ... (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854489)

Good lord, 30 seconds into that video my brain shut down in self defense. How did he manage to make beer boring?

Re:Boring ... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854595)

Not only, that, he managed to take a relatively fun and trivially simple thing (pouring a beer from a tap) and turn it into an absurdly complex and yet totally ineffective process (not only was it all foam, but he had to turn on the tap ANYWAY).

Re:Boring ... (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854711)

I've worked with people like that - amazing abilities to take simple concepts/designs and turn them into over engineered buggy pieces of crap. And dev meetings expand from 30 min sprints to 3 hour marathons unless you gag them.

How authentic is its behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39854551)

Will it become passive-aggressively irritated if it perceives my tip to be insufficient, like real american bartenders?

Needs real engineering... (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39854555)

...not just app coding. Trying to dispense a measured solid volume of beer in the form of an expanding compressible foam is challenging, but that's how a tap works. That's why making a perfect pour is a skill for a bartender to learn. The most obvious failure here is trying to measure the beer quantity with a volumetric flow sensor. That's absolutely useless - and anyone who's ever worked on beer dispensing equipment would know that if they had a hint of engineering sense! A mass flow sensor would be good, but extremely expensive. A volumetric sensor located ahead of a restrictor plate could work, if the dispensing pressure were elevated above the carbonation pressure briefly. A better solution would probably be to use ultrasonic or laser distance measurement to make it FILL THE GLASS. That's what you really want - a full glass of beer. It should pour in stages to allow the head to settle, like a bartender. Then the beer plumbing can be optimized to reduce agitation (as in any good tap setup) and an automated pour shouldn't be too difficult. Need one sensor (or array thereof) to measure the height of the glass, and another to measure the beer level.

Re:Needs real engineering... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855645)

A mass flow sensor would be good, but extremely expensive.

Until the beer comes out of the tap, it is unexpanded, so knowing the density is enough to turn volumetric flow into mass flow.

Re:Needs real engineering... (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39864367)

Nobody's reading this anymore, possibly including you, but I'll write it anyway. The beer begins foaming as soon as it is exposed to a pressure any less than the vapor pressure of CO2 dissolved into it, combined with sufficient (minimal) agitation or surface roughness in the plumbing to cause nucleation. Thus, it starts foaming as soon as it passes through any sort of restriction in the plumbing. Good beer plumbing minimizes foaming by reducing turbulence and minimizing pressure differentials, but it can't be completely eliminated. A volumetric flow sensor itself creates a significant pressure differential and massive shear. So if it wasn't foaming much before the sensor, it sure will be on the way out.

Can we have a Handpump version please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855243)

For those of us who won't drink CO2 enhanced and artifically cooled brews.

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