It's been a great year for us here at Party Robotics. We've attended many events with our Bartendro and won first place at the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge at the DNA lounge. But more importantly, we've enjoyed hearing your feedback and seeing the awesome projects you've made for business and for pleasure. We've attached some pictures and videos of projects we've heard back from this year. Check them out below. We love getting pics of your setups, so please do send them!
We've also been making some improvements within. We recently started using a better platform for turning our manuals into beautiful guides, and a few months back, Sparkfun started distributing our Bartendro Dispensers. We have many ideas going forward on how to improve our products and our documentation and we're looking forward to kicking off 2015 with some exiting new things. May you enjoy your holidays with your loved ones and robot made cocktails, and we'll see you next year!
Hey everyone, I hope you've been enjoying your summer with some tasty beverages. Things have been ebbing and flowing in Party Robotics land over the last couple of months. We ran out of several things some weeks back, but now we're stocked up on everything again, and the best news is that Bartendro Dispensers are now 10 bucks less! Did we change anything about them? Nope! As we've been refining our process, and understanding our costs better, we've decided that we would pass the savings on to you. It might not seem like much, but every little bit helps when you're trying to build a big bot.
For those in the Bay Area, we've also officially signed up for the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge, happening in about a month at the DNA Lounge in SF. Come root for your favorite robots. The event is on a Sunday from 5pm to Midnight and tickets cost $10 in advance.
We finally made it to the infamous Roboexotica in Vienna! The city is a bit chilly this time of year, but it's beautifully decorated in lights and ornaments creating a festive holiday spirit. What better place for serving cocktails from bots?
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When we made it to the venue, we were surprised to find that it was smaller than we were expecting. The venue at BarBot in SF was about double the size. Another thing that caught us off guard was that we were supposed to purchase all the booze, whereas at BarBot it was always provided. We were encouraged to ask for tips which would help offset the cost of most, if not all of the booze. Finding all of the ingredients that we typically use was nearly impossible. Things like butterscotch schnapps and sour apple pucker, were non-existent, so our typical line-up was not going to be appearing. We were handed cherry liquor and gin to start us out, so we started improvising and creating new drinks as fast as we could.
Thursday was hectic because booze was still arriving while we were setting up, and we seemed to be constantly short on cups, ice or straws. We managed, but knew we would have to prepare better for the following days. Friday and Saturday were insanely busy! We beat our previous records for drinks dispensed, serving over 300 cocktails in one night. Things went a lot smoother once it was all hands on deck. Aleta, Max, Rob and I were all talking to the crowds and restocking whatever was missing. Oliver (Marc Shrank), one of our Kickstarter backers from Germany even came out to visit and helped us for several of the days. Fortunately, there were enough snippets of time for all of us to be able to check out the rest of the bots and sample their tasty concoction. There were two other bots from the US, one made by Rich Gibson from California, and one by Ryan Finnigan of Colorado. A full listing can be found here
. The exhibition packed an aggressive schedule, starting at 4pm everyday and ending at 1am, but we usually didn't leave until around 4am.
The interactivity and creativity of the bots was very amusing. One bot had you insert a set of tubes into your mouth, while your opponent did the same, and with fake guns fire at each other's sensor; the winner got booze, the loser straight lemon juice. There was a Minecraft video game that dispensed drinks if you activated certain things within the game, a bowling game, and a bot that dispensed booze from a bird perched on a branch if you tweeted about it. My personal favorite for sheer monstrosity and complexity was the Robomoji which only made mojitos. It had ice crushing and fresh lime squeezing features which were impressive. It also dispensed fresh mint and cane sugar, muddled them, and dispensed soda at the end. A behemoth that's been in the works for 12 years! Check out the bot making a drink.
Overall, Bartendro 15 was very well received and we gave at least four interviews. The bot was packed in a cardboard box and it was checked in as luggage with no oversize or overweight fees. It survived both ways, and so did we. The event, although exhausting, was tremendously fun and educational. We made over a thousand drinks in the four days we were there, and were even net positive after counting the tips. I'd like to say we'll make it next year, but we shall see, we'll have to make a more creative entry next time. At the award ceremony, Johannes presented us with an award for "the proliferation of cocktail robotics." Thanks to all who came, organized, hosted, helped, supported, drank and tipped!
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B15 tending to thirsty visitors[/caption]
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LayerBot - Makes a layered Kahlua, Bailey's, and Cointreau[/caption]
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The Time Machine - flings you back in time where your only hope to get back is by making a drink.[/caption]
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Dead Donny's Drunken Bowling[/caption]
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Twitt Shitter - poops a baby blue shot upon tweeting to it, or following it on twitter.[/caption]
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Shoot 'n Shot - shoot your opponent with a quick draw and get a shot.[/caption]
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Robomoji - A Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that makes wonderful mojitos.[/caption]
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Outside of the Time Machine[/caption]
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Amalettomat - Makes tasty crépes and fills them with Nutella or cinnamon/sugar.[/caption]
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PistonBot - Makes strange noises while dispensing your booze.[/caption]
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BunnyBot - poops peanuts for you.[/caption]
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The Smell of Defeat - play rock paper scissors with a bot.[/caption]
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Barwin - uses an evolutionary algorithm to serve better drinks over time.[/caption]
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Underneath Cock's Bar[/caption]
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Cock's Bar - dispenses dry ice to insta-chill every drink that's made.[/caption]
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Rob getting interviewed for Austrian TV.[/caption]
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MELMACC - now accepting bitcoins![/caption]
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The Award Ceremony. (Johannes never stands still)[/caption]
In preparation for BarBot this weekend we all sat down and decided what alcohol and mixers should be in each of the bots, Bartendro 15 and Bartendro 7. Once we figured out what each bot would hold we took a peek into the drink database to see what cocktails we would be able to serve. As it stood we were only going to be able to offer about 20 cocktail varieties. We had added several new liquors and mixers to the lineup and needed to find drinks which included them. Since I love doing research I volunteered to find us more drinks to add to the database. I set out on my drink finding mission only to discover fairly skimpy online resources.
While there are several websites out there that allow you to enter the contents of your bar and will then give you drink options, they weren’t overly useful. The databases were very limited and hard to use. I instead found myself looking at one ingredient at a time and skimming through hundreds of drink recipes searching for matching ingredients. Talk about time consuming! One of Party Robotics’ goals is to create a community of cocktail enthusiasts. Each time a person discovers or creates a new drink they can add it to our database. Before long we hope to have created a fantastic place where people around the world can easily try new cocktails. Entering new recipes is simple and they can be tweaked right on the spot in just a few clicks. After I found new recipes Rob and I took on the hardest work of all... testing the drinks! We have come up with some really tasty cocktails for BarBot this weekend and will be offering 52 different drinks! If you end backing our Kickstarter project and acquiring a Bartendro of your own you’ll be able to try some of these delicious concoctions at home. My personal favorites are the Gummy Bears and Buttermilk. NOM! Check out the BarBot drink list below and decide what you're going to try this weekend!
Bahama Mama - White Rum, Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Grenadine Beach Bum - Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice
Pina Colada - White Rum, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Milk
Tequila Sunrise - Tequila, Orange Juice, Grenadine
Calypso Baby - White Rum, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine
Florida Sunshine - Tequila, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Grenadine
Pain Killer - Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Coconut Milk
Rum Screwdriver - White rum, Orange Juice
Saoco - White Rum, Coconut Milk
Tequlia Screwdriver - Tequila, Orange Juice
Brown Cow - Kahlua, Milk
Buttermilk - Butterscotch Schnapps, Milk
Buttery Nipple - Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys
Cosmopolitan - Vodka, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice
Gummy Bears - Midori, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice
Kamikaze - Vodka, Triple Sec, Lime Juice
Lemon Drop - Vodka, simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
Mudslide - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys
Real Whiskey Sour - Whiskey, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice
Sour Apple Martini - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker
Vodka Cranberry - Vodka, Cranberry Juice
Washington Apple - Whiskey, Sour Apple Pucker, Cranberry Juice
2nd Period - Kahlua, Baileys, Milk
Adam & Eve - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Cranberry Juice
Amaretto Sour - Amaretto, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
Apple Jolly Rancher - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice
B-28 - Amaretto, Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys
Baby Guinness - Kahlua, Baileys
Baileys & Amaretto - Amaretto, Baileys
Baileys Straight - Baileys
Big Red - Cinnamon Schnapps, Baileys
Black Russian - Vodka, Kahlua
Black Unicorn - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys
Broken Down Golf Cart - Vodka, Amaretto, Midori, Cranberry Juice
Butter Kahlua Bliss - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Milk
Butterballs - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps
Caramel Apple - Butterscotch Schnapps, Sour Apple Pucker
Carrot Cake - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Baileys
Emerald Martini - Vodka, Midori, Triple Sec
Girl Scout Cookie - Kahlua, Baileys
Golden Apple - Cinnamon Schnapps,
Sour Apple Pucker Hot Scott - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps
Low Carb Vodka Lemon - Vodka, Lemon Juice
Oatmeal Cookie - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys
Pure Ecstasy - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys
Red Rover - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys
Screaming Orgasm - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys
Toasted Almond - Amaretto, Kahlua, Milk
Vodka Gimlet - Vodka, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice
Vodka Lemon - Vodka, Triple Sec, Lemon Juice
Whiskey Lemonade - Whiskey, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
Ever since the first cocktail was poured people have been searching out ways to do it faster and with better accuracy. Millions of dollars are spent every year on the newest bartending gadget or gizmo. Then, when robot technology started to become more accessible people began tinkering with the idea of creating a robotic bartender. We’ve seen them in movies, but how close are we to actually having one at home to make us that perfect drink? Well, probably a lot closer than you think.
Party Robotics has been working hard for the last five years to bring a simple, fun robot that dispenses delicious cocktails into the mainstream marketplace. However, we’re not the only ones out there creating bartending robots. Let’s take a look at what else is available in the world of drink bots.
In the commercial world you really only have few options. One is the RoboBar
, manufactured by MotoMan. With a pricetag of $160,000 this behemoth of a bot is not exactly feasible for home bar enthusiasts. RoboBar is serious about giving people the robot bartender experience and comes equipped with a lifesize robot; dressed in a tux and featuring a male or female personality. This bot is not designed to assist bartenders, but replace them, touting that it can “work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks, vacations, holidays, or sick time (or hangovers).”
Another bot that is available to purchase right now is the Virtual Bartender
from Digital Beverages
. This is a bot for those with money to spend and the space to set it up. The Virtual Bartender weighs in at 350 pounds, is about the size of a large dishwasher and requires a drain, and hot/cold water line connections. Much like the RoboBar, The Virtual Bartender has a LCD touch screen and can deliver a wide range of drinks, boasting it can hold up to 32 different ingredients. Adding one of these bots to your home will set you back between $5,800 - 7,500.
Next we get into the world of diy bots which are not available for purchase at this time. The first is The Inebriator
. You may have heard of this guy as he gathered up a bit of publicity on the interwebz back in September of last year. The Inebriator is an Arduino powered cocktail machine created in the UK by Ian Cooper and Jake Osborne. The bot holds nine liquor bottles upside down on the upper level and stashes its mixers in a custom cooler
down below. Any mixers need to be moved from their original bottles into plastic containers which have been plumbed with two pipes, one leading to a gas tank and the other to a valve. Drinks are ordered from a special controller box and a glass then moves under the bottles along a conveyer belt. The bot can dispense a drink in about 30 seconds, depending on how many ingredients it contains.
Another bot which is quite similar to The Inebriator is MELMACC
. This cocktail dispensing machine was built by Oliver Höftberger, Robert Neuner, and Michael Mueller. The bot also utilizes the conveyer belt design, though does not have a gas tank or separate cooler box for mixers. Instead the mixers sit in their own special containers next to the alcohol. Drinks are also a bit slow to come from MELMACC, clocking in at about 40 seconds.
There are several other fun little speciality bots out there which make appearances at events such as Roboexotica and BarBot. There is Layerbot
which uses peristaltic pumps to create layered shots, Robomoji
that crafts mojitos, and SoBEaR
, the breathalyzer/booze dispensing teddy bear.
As you can see there are lots of projects and attempts at delivering an amazing robot bartender to the masses. Our own creation, Bartendro, is going to be making its debut on Kickstarter soon and we’re hoping that it will meet all of your home bar needs. The newest models are lightweight and can easily be carried by one person, uses peristaltic pumps to give the most accurate drinks possible, delivers those drinks in less than 10 seconds, has an interactive user interface which can be run off your smartphone or tablet, is easy to clean, and most importantly makes delicious precision cocktails (or crazy custom juice creations). If you want to check it out in person we’re going to be at Robogames’ annual BarBot
event in San Francisco on March 1st and 2nd. Come on down and let our bot get you drunk!!
It's amazing sometimes how much can happen in a couple months. In March, we went to Barbot 2012 in San Francisco to mingle with like minded cocktail making technologists. It was great to see familiar faces and meet new ones. Bartendro's aesthetic was spot on. It was a bold, shiny, well-lit piece of art. The bot performed admirably on Friday night dispensing 172 drinks, but we ran into some hardware/software issues that almost made the bot inoperable at the start of the Saturday run. We muscled through several issues and brought half of the pumps back to life for a usable 6 drinks. People were still impressed it could make that many, since most other bots were only doing 1 or 2 drinks. We were dismayed though because we had a selection of 30 drinks the night before. People were overall thrilled and welcoming of our robotic future, where drinks come with a button press. We got mentioned in a Make Blog
about how we are "veering dangerously close to commercial viability."Flickr Set
of Barbot 2012
At the end of the event we stayed up late into the night rehashing all the things that could have gone better; a post-mortem analysis if you will. We agreed that upside down bottles were not the way to go. The upside down bottle concept carried over from our original desires to have a gravity-fed machine. The aesthetic is really cool. It seems like it would be a simple, no-fuss no-brainer; you can see the bottles and just swap them out when they run out. The problem arises when catering to larger crowds, not being able to refill the bottles as people are using the machine can cause quite a bit of downtime and this is a pretty big issue if this machine is to live in a commercial application. Also, the vent holes on the bottle caps (needed to not cause a vacuum) were prone to being leaky and messy. From looking around at the other bots this year, it seemed apparent that the winning combo is upright bottles and peristaltic pumps.
We made a long list of things to fundamentally change about our design. We would ditch the stainless steel skin and go with a simpler design. The pumps would also need a form of adjustability to reduce leakage and contamination of drinks. Over a couple of months I iterated over modification designs that would allow for adjustment with one knob. Finally, we had something worthwhile. I retrofitted the pump with new tubing to and re-routed it. Meanwhile, in software land, the UI received a face lift. Elements could now be added or removed at will depending on the type of party, things like drink size and taster buttons were made optional. Drinks could also be modified on the scales of alcohol strength and sweetness/tartness. We prepared and showed up at an event called Taco de Mayo, where our friend rents a taco truck that serves endless tacos. Naturally, our bot was transmorphed into a margarita bot. There was 6 different kinds of tequila that could be selected to go into your drink and even a game to check for sobriety if you selected the top-shelf stuff. Several other drinks could be made too including a Dirty Sanchez and White Oaxacan. 201 drink dispensed in all. Our best performance yet. We received great tips and ideas from our friends to pursue. We're going to take our technical hats off for a month and put our business ones on to try to go make this available at your favorite restaurants. Cheers!