Skip to main content

This autonomous cooler will follow behind you as you walk to the beach

Arduino Powered Autonomous "Follow Me" Cooler
OK, so having to lug your cooler down to the beach on a hot day probably does not rank up there in the top hundred problems the world faces. But, hey, we’re all for innovative uses of technology.

With that in mind, we have to applaud California-based hacker-engineers Aaron and Davis of Hacker House [who asked to have their last names withheld]. The duo leant their considerable expertise to constructing a robotic cooler — designed to trundle along automatically behind its owner, like a faithful dog which happens to contain chilled beverages.

“The cooler is controlled through an Android IoT app called Blynk,” Aaron told Digital Trends. “In the GPS streaming mode, the cooler will actively follow you. In the GPS waypoint mode, the user can send the cooler to a specific coordinate or instruct it to follow a path of coordinates. There is also servo inside the cooler that opens and closes the lid at the tap of a button. In the future, we’re interested in using computer vision and LIDAR to detect obstacles. We’ll probably have to add more computing power for that.”

Make an Autonomous "Follow Me" Cooler - Part 1

Like any hacker worth his or her salt, Aaron and Davis are not hoarding the creation purely for themselves, however. They have posted instructions on the website, which details how similarly thirsty geeks can construct their own unit — using off-the-shelf DIY products, an Arduino, and a few other bits and pieces. The total build time is in the vicinity of 10 hours and, while it’s one for the slightly more advanced makers out there, at least you know there is a great relaxation-based reward at the end of it.

“I don’t think we’ll commercialize this one,” Aaron said when we asked if there is the chance of a possible Kickstarter or similar down the line. “We usually open source all of the code, materials, and instructions for our projects to show everyone that with the accessibility of today’s technology, you don’t need to be an engineer to create almost any device you can imagine.”

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more