BeagleBone Black project spotlight: Barbot

Ringing a bell, throwing some cash, snapping your fingers and maybe even showing a
little extra cleavage have all been used to flag down bartenders. But Sean Carney,
creator of Barbot, can catch the attention of his bartender with a quick click of
the mouse and a remote Internet connection.


The Barbot is an Internet-controlled liquor-dispensing robot that can mix a drink
with up to five different ingredients. It offers a web interface that lets you know
what ingredients are available, generates a list of potential cocktails that can be
made with those ingredients, shows user ratings, and offers links to order a cocktail.
Once you order a cocktail, it gets to work and can make you a drink in seconds!

After inputting your drink order, the Sitara-processor-powered BeagleBone Black controls
three dual-H Bridge motor drivers, which are connected to peristaltic pumps that dispense
the correct liquids into your glass. BeagleBone Black is connected to a USB Wi-Fi adapter
so that you can order your drinks wirelessly. The computer runs Ubuntu 13.04 with Apache2,
MySQL and PHP, bind and dhcpd installed. Apache2, MySQL and PHP are used to host the
web interface, while bind and dhcpd create the Wi-Fi portal. The web server directly
controls the pumps by using PHP to write into the GPIO sysfs files. For additional
software information, visit the Barbot website.

The front panel of the Barbot hosts a number of switches and buttons, which the user
can use to manually override the machine for priming and purging the peristaltic pumps
as well as to manually dispense a beverage. Everything in the Barbot is powered by
a beefy 5-volt, 10-amp power supply. Take a look at this video demonstration to see
exactly how the process works:

Barbot Usage Video

Sean first had the idea for Barbot after being inspired by so many other similar
projects. He believes that building an alcohol dispensing device may become the new
developers’ “rite of passage.”

“It’s an interesting genre of device since many people made one, but each creator
brings their own skills, knowledge and personal touch to the project,” he said.

As an accountant by trade and education, Sean is completely self-taught when it comes
to technology.

“Based on my experience, if anyone sets their mind on completing a project like this,
there isn’t any reason why they wouldn’t be able to,” he says. “It’s amazing what
educational resources are available online these days.”

This factor contributed to his selection of BeagleBone Black as his single-board computer.
BeagleBone Black is easy to learn and allowed him to focus on the creative aspects
of Barbot. It also has the capacity to operate many different I/O connections required
for Barbot to function correctly.

For his next project, Sean has his sights set on building “The World’s Largest MP3
Player” by deconstructing a retro stereo and fitting it into a modern entertainment

For developers like Sean, creativity can solve many of life’s small issues. For Sean,
the solution was simple: if you want to avoid waiting for a drink, build your own
Barbot using BeagleBone Black!

For more information on Barbot, visit Sean’s project website:

Want to chat with us about this project? Tweet us at @BeagleBoardOrg!