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.”
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.