If you fancy yourself an intrepid cutting edge sort of person, you might be interested in the new beta software release we're currently testing. This software release still has some known bugs and rough edges that we plan to fix before doing a stable release. But, we think that this beta release is considerably better (especially when it comes to the liquid level sensors) than the previous release.
If you prefer to wait for things to be solid -- sit tight. Within hopefully a couple of weeks we should have the remaining bugs worked out.
The fixes and improvements we have in store for you include:
A new "I'm feeling Lucky!" button
A lot of user interface improvements
An improved Shots interface
A taster button on our drink designer
Improved handling of the liquid level sensors
There are lots of other features and fixes in this release, so go ahead and read the release notes for details.
To give the new software a try and have a spare 4GB SD Card to use in the process, start by reading the release notes and our upgrade instructions. Please, please, please read all of the instructions before you proceed to install the upgrade to Bartendro, ok?
It's April, and yes that means new Bartendro hardware is just around the bend! We had quite a holdup in the month of March, with a key component stuck in customs for over 30 days. Apparently, the weather conditions of February in the Midwest were the cause of severe delays for many, including the officers of US Customs and Border Protection. The frigid winter this year was more extreme than usual, but fortunately that's all over now. We've been doing our best to get things done in parallel, so we're hopeful that starting the week of April 21st, we will begin shipping Bartendro Dispensers, Routers, and other components that make up kits. Fully assembled bots will follow shortly after, beginning shipments as early as April 28th.
In their boozy dealings with Bartendro over the past few months, people have been discovering software quirks and bugs and telling us about them. We've been collecting those findings on a list and progressively fixing them. We've also been making continual additions and improvements to make our software more user friendly. So, thanks for the feedback! People with existing bots and kits will be able to upgrade to the latest version for free when it's available in a few weeks. I'll be posting an instruction guide soon on how to do that updating process. It may be a little bit on the technical side, so if you're not up for it you may want to find your closest teenager.
As we mentioned before, we're in the in the process of moving to the Bay Area. We've found a new space and we're working on securing the lease. We'll take some photos of the new digs once we're all moved in and probably have an open house at some point where people can come by and say hi.
The last few weeks have given me a new appreciation for the everyday products we purchase. When you buy something you never think about all the small details that went into making it ready to ship to consumers. Someone had to design the logo stickers, decide on what material to print them on, where they should be placed, and how big they should be. Someone designed the packaging that the product comes in. Should the box have tabs, should it include foam, packing peanuts, or air cushions? What about the user manual? Another person had to sit down and design that, ensuring that customers could pull their new product out of the box and get started right away. This is just a small sampling of all the things that go into a product launch. We have all been learning a ton about this process and are getting very close to shipping out our first orders!
We have received our first box of assembled dispenser boards and miniRouter boards and everything is working as intended. ShotBot and B3 faces have been powder coated. The shop has been redesigned for larger scale manufacturing and we have begun cutting the tubing. Almost all the components for our small kits, ShotBot, and B3 are in our hands.
[caption id="attachment_890" align="aligncenter" width="520"] B1 and B3 back from powder coating.[/caption]
B7 and B15 fabrication is in the queue. Labels have been designed and ordered. We have designed packaging for our dispensers, ShotBot, and B3. We are also working on the user manuals, video guides, and website improvements.
While we tried very hard to get out the first orders in May, we have had some unexpected delays. Our power supplies have not arrived yet, but we are expecting them soon. We are also working on hammering out all the bugs in our code. We have enlisted the help of a few dispenser backers with extensive programming knowledge who have agreed to be our beta testers. With their feedback we can get your orders out to you sooner than working on it alone. It’s important to us to send out pumps, bots, and kits to you all with solid software. That means pushing delivery back a couple of weeks.
Last, we are excited to announce that pre-orders have begun! The first item that will be available for order will be our dispenser. You can pre-order a standard dispenser for $129 or a dispenser with liquid level sensor for $149. The dispenser is a peristaltic pump with encoder, machined to accept our open source electronics and comes with several feet of beverage tubing. You'll have to provide your own power supply, serial communication device, and a way to mount the pump. We will continue to keep you updated as more products become available for pre-order.
Hello everyone! My name is Garran, and I recently joined the Party Robotics team as the mechanical engineer. I first met Pierre at the Cal Poly Robotics Club approximately 7 years ago. After school we worked together at iRobot for four years. I have lots of experience with complex mobile robots and am excited to get Bartendro up and ready to serve. Currently, I’m working on bringing the bots from prototype to production state. This entails a lot of modeling, creating drawings, and bookkeeping. I am also helping to build fixtures which will allow us to make precision parts quickly and easily.
We are done designing Bartendro 1 and 3, and all of the parts are on order. We adjusted the dimensions to accommodate larger bottles and Bartendro 3 has a new spout assembly. We also added new features so that the frame can easily be upgraded with a back cover and a cup holder.
Now that the smaller bots have been finalized we will be putting the finishing touches on Bartendro 7 and 15. Most recently we have added a more accessible power socket and switch.
While Pierre and I have been focusing on Bartendro hardware, Rob has been working on software upgrades. He’s creating software packages from the Bartendro source code so that we can use the regular debian package system to update the software in the field. This will make it simple to install all of the software for Batendro. Part of this is working out a security model for Bartendro. Given that we have a Linux box with its own network, there are a number of security implications that we need to consider. Afterall, we don't want random people to hack into your Bartendro and abuse it, or worse, waste your booze.
While these features may not sound all that interesting to everyone who can't wait to get their hands on Bartendro, they are critical for making it possible to upgrade the software on the bots after we ship to our backers. Once these updates have been finished he will be building a system that lets us easily create the SD cards which acts as Bartendro’s brains.
Then, he’ll be working on creating a settings system. This will allow the owner of the bot to access the admin screen and change the behavior of the bot. Currently, all the configuration changes are settings in the code, which isn’t great for end-users. Around this time he will also create an option to let the owner choose if a bot is a ShotBot or a cocktail mixing machine. With this feature, any Bartendro 3 and up can be used in ShotBot mode, which simply dispenses a shot of whatever booze is in the bot, rather than making a mixed cocktail.
These are all of the most critical functions needed in order to begin shipping out the bots. After they’ve been finished Rob will begin looking at the new features people have requested and start working on the things that will make the most people happy.
We are still somewhat on schedule with our delivery estimates. We anticipate being able to ship kits by the end of May, but Shotbot and Bartendro 3 will likely be going out by early June, and bigger bots will follow later that month.
Want to check out Bartendro in person? We'll be at the San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire on May 11 and at the Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 18th and 19th.
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!
Bartendro 7 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
Bartendro 15 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
Last night we had some fun after a long day of getting new software running on our bot. Using a pile of parts, I cobbled together a 4 pump bot, but I found myself short of a case to mount it into. I clearly watched too much MacGuyver when I was a child, because in the space of 10 minutes and using 2 paperclips, 2 screws and some string I made StringTendro:
Then towards the end of the evening we started joking about about "bot-stands" or taking taster shots directly from our bot. One thing led to another and soon we were having way too much fun:
We're going to need to find a way to make this fun more sanitary. But hey, what's a few cooties shared between bot builders??
Amazingly we walked away from that experience without any hangovers!
In most of our projects, it seems like we always relegate LEDs to the backburner while we focus on everything else. Fortunately, we had the forethought on Bartendro to squeeze the hardware in at the design phase, even though we didn't get to work on the software side for a long while. Good LED effects are undeniable. With good placement and intelligent programming, they can make a product sing. Bartendro is case in point. The LEDs in the back are dual purpose, they light the bot with a silky purple haze for people to enjoy the view of the innards, but the color can be changed to pure white for brighter easier debugging in a perfectly dark room. The ring of RGB LEDs which hover directly over a user's cup serve many purposes. They let us know when the bot has booted and is ready for communication, and they let users know what's going on in the process of their drink creation. A pattern while it pours, and flashing green when the drink is done being poured. When all is said and done, a soft blue lets the user know that the machine is in an idle state and ready to take on more drink orders. There are even more LEDs that aren't powered up yet, which are supposed to emit focused light from the faucet. The intent is that they cue users as to where their cups should be placed. So when working on your projects, make sure to let your LEDs shine!
Designing a cocktail dispensing machine may not sound very difficult, but when one considers that most of the components are not readily available for purchase off the shelf, one must design their own. There are a lot of tools that go into creating a complex electro-mechanical machine like a drink bot. There are solid modeling tools, like SolidWorks and Alibre, CAM tools like SprutCam and the software that runs a the CNC machine, like Mach 3. The CNC machine is a PCNC 1100 made by Tormach, and it is a joy to use. All of the tools need to work in unison to achieve the desired results. These tools cover the basics required for machining parts. When it comes to the electronics, schematic and layout tools are required. In my case, I used EagleCAD because of the existing community and pre-made parts that allowed for fast development time. Boards can be cheaply fabricated in China by Golden Phoenix and modules from Sparkfun and Pololu make development even easier and more modular.
All software tools have their quirks, and when it comes down to it, it is just a matter of patience to learn how to use things in an efficient matter. Having these hardware and software tools in place allows us to iterate over and over tuning and refining until we are happy with the quality and performance of our creations. The tool set allows us to also make a wide array of parts, mechanisms and machines that make people's lives easier and more enjoyable. So, get some tools and start creating!