Raising nearly forty percent of a hefty six figure Kickstarter funding goal so far, the Bartendro is a robot that can mix over fifty different cocktails using pumps, tubing and the Raspberry Pi mini-computer. Potentially replacing a bartender, a Raspberry Pi in the Bartendro is connected to a router board which is linked to “peristaltic pumps.” Based off the rotation of the motor within the pump, the device can dispense specific amounts of liquor and other mixers into a glass. All of the dispensers are connected through standard RJ-45 cable; the type of cord used for connecting your computer to your wireless router.
Once the user has setup the dispensers and the various liquids, they can use a tablet, laptop or smartphone to connect to the wireless network called Bartendro. After connecting, the user launches any Web browser and the Bartendro network will load the menu screen to order a drink.
Assuming the user has connected the right liquids, the Bartendro can mix popular drinks such as a Cosmopolitan, Kamikaze, Lemon Drop, Sour Apple Martini, Vodka Cranberry, Pina Colada, Tequila Sunrise or a Screwdriver. A current list of drink recipes can be found on the official blog.
The user interface can also be adjusted to create any type of drink imaginable. The creators of Bartendro, Party Robotics, are using an open source design in order to encourage others to tweak and play around with the software. Kickstarter backers have suggested ideas such as adding a Square credit card reader for taking purchases, integrating a Microsoft Kinect for facial recognition to automatically deliver a favorite drink and connecting a breathalyzer to keep someone from drinking too much. Backers have also suggested integrating the system with a ice dispenser or conveyor belt for complete automation.
After a second cycle of sanitizer and clean water, the drink-mixing robot is ready for the next party. The tubing used within the system is food-grade, identical to tubing used within a drink machine at a restaurant. One drawback to the current delivery system is that carbonated liquids aren’t handled well, but the creators are working on a solution.
However, the Bartendro certainly isn’t cheap and requires a bit of an investment to make the maximum number of drinks. While Kickstarter backers can start with various parts to slowly build their own system, the Bartendro 3 comes with three dispensers, tubing, the Raspberry Pi and the frame for $699. If you are interested in mixing a much larger variety of drinks, the Bartendro 7 is positioned at $1,499 and the Bartendro 15 is priced at $2,999. The Bartendro 15 also takes up a significant amount of counter space at nearly one meter in length. For anyone simply interested in delivering single shots, the Shotbot comes with one dispenser for $299.
If fully funded in the next twenty-five days, Party Robotics plans to roll out the first Bartendro units by June 2013. According to the Kickstarter page, the company has suppliers and vendors ready to support the large order, but is still working on properly packaging the robotic devices. As with all Kickstarter projects, shipment and delivery of the Bartendro devices could be delayed due to manufacturing issues.