Inspiration: The BarBot team came together with such diverse skill sets. We wanted to create a project that would highlight each member's various expertise. This expertise includes Internet of Things, hardware, and web development. After a long ideation session, we came up with BarBot. This robotic bartender will serve as a great addition to forward-seeing bars, where the drink dispensing and delivery process is automated.
What it does: Barbot is an integrated butler robot that allows the user to order a drink through a touch screen ordering station. A highly capable drink dispensary system will perform desired option chosen from the ordering station. The beverage options that will be dispensed through the dispensary system include Redbull or Soylent. An additional option in the ordering station named "Surprise Me" is available. This particular option takes a photograph of the user and runs a Microsoft Emotions API. Running this API will allow BarBot to determine the user's current mood and decide which drink is suitable for this user based on the photograph taken. After the option is determined by the user (Redbull or Soylent) or by BarBot ("Surprise Me" running Microsoft emotion API), BarBot's dispensary system will dispense the determined beverage onto the glass on the BarBot. This robot will then travel to the user in order to deliver the drink. Barbot will only return to its original position (under the dispensary station) when the cup has been lifted.
How we built it: The BarBot team allocated different tasks to group members with various expertise. Our frontend specialist, Sabrina Smai, built the mobile application for ordering station that has now had a touchscreen. Our hardware specialist, Lucas Moisuyev, built the BarBot itself along with the dispensary system with the assistance of Tony Cheng. Our backend specialist, Ben Weinfeld, built the ordering station by programming raspberry pi and the touchscreen. Through our collaboration, we were able to revolutionize the bartending process.
Challenges we ran into: The most reoccurring issue we encountered was a lack of proper materials for specific parts of our hack. When we were building our pouring mechanism, we did not have proper tubing for transferring our beverages, so we had to go out and purchase materials. After buying more tubing materials, we then ran into the issue of not having strong enough servos or motors to turn the valves of the dispensers. This caused us to totally change the original design of the pouring mechanism. In addition, we underestimated the level of difficulty that came with creating a communication system among all of our parts.
Accomplishments that we're proud of: Despite our challenges, we are proud to have been able to create a functional product within the limited amount of time. We needed to learn new skills and improvise hardware components but never gave up.
What we learned: During this hackathon, we learned to program the Particle Photon Raspberry Pi, building web apps, and leap over the hurdles of creating a hardware hack with very limited supplies.
What's next for BarBot: The BarBot team is very passionate about this project and we will continue to work on BarBot after this Hackathon. We plan to integrate more features that will incorporate more Microsoft APIs. An expansion of the touch ordering station will be considered as more variety of drink options will be required.