SOBEaR v02 :: the responsible robot bartender

UPDATE: featured on GIZMODO,ENGADGET and MAKE!

Finally, my finalized prototype of SOBEaR, the responsible robot bartender.

SOBEaR is a robot friend for anyone who does not know their own limits, or has problems controlling themselves.

I’ve added a glass coaster with a glowing status light to tell you that he is on, as well as a sewn-on patch to show you where the ‘go’ button is.  When you press the “breathe + pour” button on his right foot, the status light goes solid, and the user breathes into SOBEaR’s face.  You can see the alcohol sensor above the bowtie, under his chin.  Your current blood alcohol content (BAC) is then shown a scale from 1 – 6 with green, yellow, and red LEDs in SOBEaR’s chest.  Depending on how drunk you are (or aren’t) SOBEaR will pour you a drink appropriate for your current state.  In the video below, SOBEaR is pouring cranberry vodkas for my user tester.  Two servos hold the alcohol and the mixer, and with the SoftwareServo library for arduino, programming this aspect was simple.

For many obvious reasons, I used a MapDuino which is an ATmega168 chip soldered into a custom PCB circuit (started with perfboard from radiocrack) for the brains of this robot.  The alcohol sensor was super easy to implement, got it from sparkfun via my computation studio teacher.

This robot takes the shape of an adorable plush teddy bear, because I felt it gave it a sense of trustworthiness, as if a teddy bear could ever do you wrong. Trust SOBEaR, he knows what is good for you. It was a tough decision between naming this guy “SOBEaR” or “Teddy Drunkspin” [credit goes to matt for that one!]. Other suggestions?

There are a lot more pictures in my first prototype’s post HERE.



thanks to José + Chris for drinking and filming!

SOBEaR v01

I have finished my first prototype of SOBEaR, the robot bartender. SOBEaR is a robot friend for anyone who does not know their own limits, or has problems controlling themselves.

SOBEaR has an alcohol sensor mounted under his chin, so that the user presses a button inside his right foot, breathes into SOBEaR’s face, and then watches their alcohol consumption level displayed by the color LED column in SOBEaRs chest.

Following their sobriety test, SOBEaR then immediately pours a drink, a ratio of alcohol and mixer (OJ, cranberry, tonic, cola, etc), appropriate for the user at this time.

As you can see in the video, I still need to play with the angles for each pour. Can’t have the bear pouring the bottle straight down into your glass. Wouldn’t be very classy to just spill liquor or mixer all over the place. So I’ll be fixing that before presenting this project, as well as adding a coaster for the user to place their glass under. It will have an LED indicator light as well…

Robot Bunny // Desecrated and Celebrated

On Friday, we were told to bring in any plush toy that had interesting innards that we would want to understand. Naturally, I picked out a stuffed bunny that has a switch on his foot which triggers a song to play, and two motors to start up- one in the body, one for the ears. Here’s a vid of mr. Rabbit before dissection time. I accidentally pulled one wire out at the end,but I found it’s connection and had the “bunny” in a fully functional state. Seeing just the motors, speaker, button, and battery working completely disembodied made me feel like some great robot surgeon. Poor bunny.

The most interesting findings in this specimen were

– the PNP/NPN circuit that reversed polarities every second of faster in order to make the ears go up and down
– the gear box that was inside the bunnies’ head was quite intricate, and contained at least seven differently sized cog wheels
– the fact that the PCB was made up of completely through-hole components. This definitely surprised me, as I thought surface-mount is much cheaper. Yury told us that factories are set up to do one or the other, and changing is more expensive than it would be worth.

I will definitely be salvaging both motors, as well as the switch (appears to be a small tactile one similar to what radioshack sells, only in a plastic encasement), and the 8ohm speaker that seems to be quite loud and clear for it’s size. Oh, and the battery holder is definitely something I can use- screws shut and holds 3 AAA batteries. Overall, very much worth the $12 (kmart had a sale on Easter themed plush!)

international toy fair 2009

visited the international toy fair 2009 yesterday, and got to see all the latest developments in toy tech for the year from tiny startups to mattel and hasbro. this was an ‘industry only’ event; in other words, the public was not invited, only sellers and buyers. the sellers ranged from startups with only 1 or 2 employees to the top secret toy developments made by Mattel and Hasbro. the only reason i was able to attend is because my studio:computation teacher is a registered vendor (he makes this: http://mybeatingheart.com ) and was able to get passes for our class as “interns” for his company.

Essentially, this is mattel’s chance to sucker in toy giants like toys ‘r’ us and wal-mart (the buyers) to place orders for products to be sold in their stores. really interesting shit. a lot of it was boring like light sabers and random toy-ish decorations, but a lot of it was rad. i took a few pictures, but also, a sweet vid.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/3376456[/vimeo]

here are some highlights