(this is a draft, please write with corrections or suggestions)
Cocktail robotics can be about more than ‘robots which serve cocktails.’ The Roboexotica model is that it serves as ‘an index for the integration of technological innovations into the human Lebenswelt’ and “radical hedonism in man-machine communication”.
There are a lot of fun ‘cocktail robots’ which don’t dispense cocktails, and there are lots of robots which dispense cocktails without a computer (see ‘Balls of Steel’ and ‘The Corpse Reviver’), but the goal of this project is to get more people making more cocktail robots by providing a simple and affordable solution to the ‘hello world’ problem of ‘how do I dispense cocktails under computer control.’ And to provide options where one can customize, explore, and expand on the basic model.
The bot starts with some laser cut parts and a few other parts. Once assembled the bot presents as a wifi access point. You can connect with it and control its’ operations using a customized version of the feature rich software which controls the Party Robotics Bartendro.
The bot uses a Raspberry Pi with an AdaFruit DC & Stepper Motor HAT to control peristaltic pumps to dispense liquids to make cocktails or Italian Sodas. The Pi can also be controlled with your own custom software using the AdaFruit motor control library code, or you can control the bot through a semi-restful interface.
The Raspberry Pi is a tiny single board computer which runs Linux and supports a graphical user interface. The AdaFruit DC & Stepper Motor HAT is a board which connects to the Pi and allows you to control four (or with a little trick eight) peristaltic pumps (up to 32 of these boards can be stacked so you can control 256 pumps, which is well beyond the scope of a hello world project!).
The motor hat requires a small amount of soldering on the terminal blocks which you use to attach the pump wires to the board, and to attach the headers which connect the HAT to the Pi.
There are many ways to move and dispense liquids in a cocktail robot! We use peristaltic pumps like these from AdaFruit.
A laser cut wood or acrylic frame holds everything together. There are several case designs in the github repository.
AdaFruit provides a python library for the motor HAT. The project comes with sample code which will dispense ingredients from the command line, and (slightly aspirationally) there is a modified version of the Bartendro code which allows you to manage which ingredients are in each position, create and manage a database of cocktail recipes, provide a web based interface to let users select and customize their drinks, and provides a restful interface to dispense cocktails which you can call from your own code.