Tanks for the beer! Robotic vehicle follows you around, brings you a brewski

We’re lovers, not fighters here at Digital Trends — but for this awesome tank robot, we’re happy to make an exception. Created by maker Balázs Simon, the WalaBeer tank is a homemade Alexa-connected vehicle that treks around your apartment with the express goal of delivering you a beer. To do this, it uses Walabot, a do-it-yourself device that’s able to see through walls. You can keep your Roomba vacuum cleaner; this is the home robot for us!

“WalaBeer Tank is a voice-controlled, tracked vehicle that sees you with its special 3D sensor, Walabot,” Simon told Digital Trends. “It can do this by using microwaves; it doesn’t even need light to see. If you ask the tank to follow you, it will try to keep you in its target zone. If you leave the zone, the tank will move accordingly to keep you about 80 centimeter from its front. The fun part comes when you reach your destination and ask it to give you a beer. The top will open up and a crane will start to elevate with a beer.”

robot tank delivers a beer img 20180327 201257 hdr
Balázs Simon

The tank’s electronics are built around an Arduino MKR1000 and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The Arduino interacts with the hardware, while the Raspberry Pi processes the data from the Walabot, handles the voice commands of the Amazon Echo, and controls the Arduino in the robot’s “follow me” mode. The tank itself was sourced from an existing kit, reinforced with some extra wood and plastic. The beer-lifting mechanism was created using Erector Set pieces and a slow servo motor.

“I wanted to build a robot car for years,” Simon says. “I’ve had some ideas on how to build one from scratch, but a couple of months ago I found a cheap tank chassis on a web shop that looked great. I bought it immediately. It wasn’t a car, but it was better. I planned to use it as an experimenting platform. The plan was to build an autonomous vehicle. However, I thought that roaming around the house aimlessly was not that fun. I wanted to give it a purpose — and beer transporting seemed an interesting and awesome goal.”

A bill of materials, along with build instructions, can be found at Hackster.io. If you don’t think you’ve got the necessary skills, though, Simon did mention that commercialization isn’t out of the question if the idea proves popular enough. We certainly hope so.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Tiny animals discovered in Antarctic lake deep beneath the ice

Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica: the carcasses of tiny animals including crustaceans and a tardigrade were found in a lake that sits deep beneath over half a mile of Antarctic ice.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Google plots radar-sensing tech that could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.