Robots do it better. The "it" this time: cocktails. Bartendro, a modular, open-source cocktail dispensing robot, makes a bevy of mixed drinks reliably and consistently in about 10 seconds a pop. Setups come with either 3, 7, or 15 pump modules, and can dole out over 200 drinks in one evening by way of an easily followed (and programmed) user interface accessed via a WiFi connection and Web browser.
Party Robotics created Bartendro to appease all kinds of partakers in mixed drink revelry. The Critic, who swears this Old Fashioned isn't as good as the last one. The Pounder, who just wants to keep 'em coming. The Connoisseur, who has very particular drink component specifications. And the Costco Specialist, who clamors to try 1-ounce samples of 7 different kinds of cocktails without purchasing any of them. Bartendro can pour complex concoctions with precisely the same user-specified ingredients and proportions, in any size, over and over all night long. Even cleanup circumvents pain in the ass territory--it requires only about 5 minutes of Bartendro operation with a pitcher of soapy water, followed by clean water and sanitizer--so the inebriating robotic wonder can come back for a repeat performance the next night too.
Bartendro utilizes peristaltic pumps, each of which dispense a designated volume of liquid with every revolution of the motor. Pumps combine with custom-designed electronic dispenser boards, the latter of which use the same processor as an Arduino, and connect through an RJ-45 connector to a "router board" holding a Raspberry Pi computer. The configuration both allows drinks to be precisely measured and mixed, and interfaces users with Bartendro's drink menu screen and software capabilities, which include managing dispensers, ingredients, and drink recipes, and for those with programming know-how, teaching the machine to perform higher-level or entirely different functions. Suggestions Party Robotics have gotten include incorporating a credit card reader, administering breathalyzers, and installing a conveyor belt to send drinks on their way after completion. Ideas for alternative pump uses have been rolling in too. Bartendro as a: pancake/crepe bot; an automated barista; even an aquarium tender or garden waterer.
Bartendro's Kickstarter campaign runs through March 31, 2013. Backing levels don't come cheap, but for a piece of equipment this advanced and, apparently, versatile, I'm not going to whine about it. Choose from Bartendros loaded with 3, 7, or 15 dispensers, and all tools necessary to get up and running for $699 to $2,999. Price breaks for tinkerers who want to supply their own Raspberry Pi and build the robot themselves are also available. Anticipated delivery: June 2013.
November 2013 Update: Bartendro exceeded its crowdfunding goal and is now available for direct purchase through the Party Robotics website--follow the link below.