Robots Can’t Bring You A Beer, But They Can Brew It!
Beer brewing can be fun, and is something that is easily accomplished at home. However, like many complex processes, brewing beer that tastes good and has consistent quality requires an attention to detail that is often challenging for hobby beer brewers.
Thankfully, affordable technology exists to assist home brewers in their quest for tasty beer on a repeatable, predictable basis. Utilizing off the shelf components along with
smartphones that almost everyone carries around in their pockets these days, Leo Innovations LLC successfully designed and launched Bieree: Smartphone Beer Brewing System.
Constructive Feedback Yields Results-
Driven by their passion for beer brewing, the founders at Leo Innovations spent years experimenting and refining their approach. Their initial attempts, though successful at producing quality beer, met with some criticism. The main complaint was that the system was too automated, too robotic. It produced the beer with a minimum of interaction from operators - as if it was on autopilot, so users felt isolated from the process.
Responding to this valuable feedback, the developers came up with the latest Bieree version expanding its user programability and data display/collection. Not only can users set parameters like temperatures and times, they can also expand the system to include other types of sensors or controls.
The Bieree beer brewing system has five basic elements. The heart of the system is a Bluetooth enabled micro controller with two power FETs. Fluid is pumped through the system using dual food grade coffee machine pumps. A temperature probe monitors operating temperatures, which are extremely critical for brewing. Devices are switched on or off using a power relay.
Users control the system using custom software applications available on both Android and iPhone/iOS platforms. Using the app of their choice, users setup the controller to measure temperatures, turn pumps on to circulate water through the different brewing vessels, and control refrigerated cooling. Communication between the smartphone and the Bierre process controller is via Bluetooth.
Successful Kickstarter Project-
Setting modest, yet achievable, goals, the company introduced Bieree to the world via a Kickstarter project in the summer of 2014. The project attracted 57 backers, primarily through word of mouth among beer brewing hobbyists, and exceeded it’s project funding goal of $6,000.
The People That Made It Happen-
Leo Innovations was founded by Leonardo Estevez who was born in Uruguay, became a naturalized US citizen, and holds both a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. He is committed to helping students to develop STEM based products that improve users quality of life.
Using open source hardware and software developed by Leo, Sam Dalong, the Leo Innovations project lead and designer, produced the Bierre kit. Sam holds a Masters degree in mathematics, and like Leo, has a strong interest in STEM development and motivating users.
Swatch, according to the latest reports/rumors from Bloomberg Business plans to release their answer to the long awaited Apple Watch before this summer, perhaps even beating Apple’s design to market.
Unfortunately, as far as we can tell from the limited information already available, Swatch, like most of the other smart watch wannabes trying to capitalize on all the energy, buzz, and hype around the sector, is focusing on the “watch” side of the equation without a significant differentiating play on the ‘smart’ side.
Before Apple did a complete reboot of cellphones and revolutionized the market, a phone was just a phone, though many of them had a few additional features, like a calendar or camera duct taped on. Apple, or more specifically Steve Jobs, shifted the focus to the total customer experience at a deep kinesthetic gut level and built a complete eco and economic system around the device. While we still refer to our smartphones as a ‘phone’, the actual use of those devices has totally minimized their phone functionality.
Smart watches will follow the same evolutionary path, without a doubt. My Nike+ FuelBand, for example, has become a totally integrated part of my day to day existence. Of course I still use it to check the time occasionally, but the way that it allows me to track, monitor, and expand my physical health and exercise has become invaluable.
While companies, and tech reporters, continue to promote the latest smart watch offering as a serious competitor to the Apple Watch, the ones we’ve seen so far amount to just digital watches with some additional features. There’s nothing really compelling about them that would make you want to run out and get one right away.
I’m guessing, and hoping, that in a few months Apple will change all of that and deliver a smart watch that will totally change the way that we think about and utilize watch form factor devices in our daily lives.
Via: Swatch Plans Smartwatch to Compete With Apple Watch’s Debut - Bloomberg Business #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams
Here’s a five minute overview of what it was like to participate in Maker Faire Tokyo 2014, plus some comments and observations from Make: founder Dale Dougherty -
XYZ Printing has quickly developed a strong reputation for their low cost, high performance, 3D printer line, but most people aren’t aware that they also have a robotics division - XYZ Robot that develops and markets both service and personal robot products.
In the past, their robot division has primarily focused on their service robot line, offering a mobile remote telepresence type robot platform that can be used for auto-mapping, research, surveillance, and other similar applications. However, at CES 2015 the company unveiled an innovative strategy to combine the strong points of both divisions by offering a series of humanoid robots that feature body shells that can be printed using XYZ Printing devices.
While the company hasn’t released exact availability and pricing information yet, the robots are expected to come in two different configurations - Advanced and Intermediate. According to information circulated at CES, the lower end Intermediate robot configuration will sell for just under US$300. We’re speculating that the Advanced configuration will be closer to US$800-$1,000 since it utilizes 18 DYNAMIXEL AX-12A servo motors that typically retail for around US$45 each.
The kits will include the necessary servos, controller, AC adapter, internal frame, software and other parts. The users are expected to print their own body shells. Here’s what we know about the specifications for the two kits so far:
Hopefully the company will make some, if not all, of the 3D printed shell design data available for downloading and modification to help users kickstart their robots.
Via: DIY robot
People are always asking me if I think that 3D printing will become pervasive, if the average person would have any need or interest in printing out items. Being a strong believer in the proverb that “Seeing is believing”, I think this video that shows a Boise, Idaho father and daughter printing a custom wall outlet cover at their local public library says it all:
Of course, there will be those readers that question whether or not government funds should be provided to libraries for services like this - but that’s a totally different debate.