Techies Club: Developers creating hardware
Visma Lietuva (Lithuania) is lucky to have enthusiastic colleagues eager to work on exciting things together. Especially when they find their hobbies matching. How many companies have their own music band? What about a group of techies with crazy ideas and enthusiasm to work on them from scratch? No need to brag, but yes, Visma Lietuva have those.
Techies Club is an initiative created by hardware-driven colleagues – developers who find it appealing to swap software with hardware for a while. An assortment of electronic hardware and wiring diagrams seem to be enough to create exciting things for the team: LED shelves, 3D printer, Visma Typer game, Airbrush and one that we are extremely excited about – the robot “BarBot”.
The robot bartender you don’t have to tip
All the members of the Techies Club gathered to brainstorm ideas for a new project and the decision was made: To create a robot bartender. BarBot is an open source Arduino-powered (Arduino is an open source electronic prototyping platform) cocktail mixing machine controlled by a hybrid mobile app via Bluetooth. It has been designed to hold up to 9 bottles of ingredients for making cocktails. Barbot dispenses the correct amount from each bottle to mix the cocktail chosen through the app. The application is also used for enabling and disabling ingredients, changing the position of each, editing recipes and changing the amount of the ingredient in specific cocktails.
Visma Lietuva developers not only created the app for the robot to work properly, they’ve designed and made the whole machine from separate parts by themselves. Kudos to our two front-end developers: Justas Savickas – the initiator of the project and Lukas Šidlauskas – he had enough motivation and inspiration for execution spending many hours to successfully finish the robot. It worked, as you can see from the video below:
Challenges on the way
The creation process took a bit longer than expected as some components had to be shipped from other countries. That’s the story behind the wooden construction – the primary idea was to make it from metal, but it appeared that shipping of the material would take too long. No need to waste time, right? Actually, the decision was never questioned – wooden material makes BarBot look even more outstanding.
There were some other challenges on the way. It appeared that it’s not that easy to use plastic carbonated soda bottles as the problems with air pressure appeared and the bubbles started to clog up the bottle rack. Puncturing a small hole in the bottom of the bottle helped.
Members of the Techies Club spent long evenings building the machine and were certainly rewarded for this effort. It’s not only about the obvious appreciation and respect from the team and community of makers, but also about well-known outlets’ and communities’ attention. BarBot was featured on the Arduino blog. Success, right? By the way, BarBot was an absolute star during one of the biggest hacker camps in Lithuania “No Trolls Allowed”. Around 200 cocktails were mixed through the evening!
Our colleagues from the Techies Club are brainstorming ideas for the new projects. What’s next? It seems that they may surprise us soon.