Naomi Wu’s BarBot Automates Bartending Safely and Reliably

Naomi Wu (better known by her handle SexyCyborg), wanted to build an automated bartending system for her friend King. King owns a small bar in Shenzhen, China, and the goal was to construct a novelty drink-making bot to attract new customers with a fun experience. We’ve seen plenty of bots capable of mixing drinks before, but Naomi’s creation stands out because of the attention she’s put into reliability and safety.

To make BarBot as a reliable as possible, Naomi eschewed fancy IoT-style connected components and finicky touch screens. Instead, she went with a dependable Arduino Mega, along with drive components that are extremely common in the 3D printing and CNC world: a RAMPS board, V-slot aluminum extrusion, and steppers. Most of the remaining parts are 3D-printed, which makes BarBot replicable in any typical hackerspace on a budget.

Because Naomi built BarBot to be used in a real working bar, she also put a lot of effort into making the design sanitary and bartender-friendly. Instead of using pumps and feed lines, standard pour spouts are depressed by the cup itself, which is carefully timed to dispense the correct amount of liquor. 16 drinks are on the menu, and all of them can be selected by simply pushing an arcade-style button. That makes the entire system both easy to sanitize, and resistant to the kind of malfunctions that are common in more sensitive bartending bots.