Fri Oct 21st 2011

Have Siri pour you a beer

The recent release of the iPhone 4S got us thinking about the future and all the wonderful things it has in store for us. Sure, we don’t have jetpacks yet, but we do have Siri.

And yet, while Siri is powerful, she still has a relatively limited set of tasks she can perform – create calendar events, tell us where we are, and play Bassnectar when we ask. Plus, those tasks are limited to the virtual world.

So we tried to imagine what the Siri of the future could do. Why couldn’t Siri pour us a beer, for instance? Well, it turns out she can. And not in the future, but now!

We call it Beeri, and we’re excited to share exactly how it works.

How we did it

We first created the Twitter account @beeribot with my phone number attached. On a 4S we then created a contact called “Tweet Beeri” with (40404) as the mobile number. This is the same process anyone can use to Tweet by text message. Now, if I say to Siri, “Text Tweet Beeri – could you pour me a beer?” a text is sent to 40404 and immediately tweeted out via @beeribot.

The second part is Beeri herself – an RC truck with modified electronics. We needed Beeri to constantly be looking for new “pour” Tweets in the @beeribot stream so we rigged her up an Arduino Uno w/ WiFi shield and set it up to poll @beeribot’s stream via the Twitter REST API every 10 seconds.

When Beeri sees a new Tweet containing the word “pour” she triggers the sequence of preprogrammed pour commands (go, stop, adjust) that interface with the truck’s circuit board to control her movement. Her route is preprogrammed (drive straight) until her two proximity detectors sense her moving away from the puncture wall after impact. This allows her to halt the driving sequence and adjust to a 6 inch depth in order to get the beer to enter the funnel.

With a clean pint glass underneath to collect the liquid gold, the only thing left to do is enjoy your tasty beverage. Now, if we could only get Siri to make us a meatloaf.

Below are some photos from the day.

Beeri is only one of our super-practical lab projects. Here’s a few others: QReo and LikeLight.

Update: The Making of Beeri