Only a fool would schlep a heavy cooler filled with cold brews to the beach on a sweltering summer day. A real pro gets a robot to do that. Seriously, you can now get a robot beer cooler to follow you around, toting your brewskis wherever you please.
Unfortunately, you can’t just buy a beer-hauling robot—you need to earn it by making it yourself. Hacker House, a YouTube channel devoted to building objects with artificial intelligence, recently published a guide to building an autonomous “Follow Me” cooler.
The device is a motorized platform designed to hold a cooler and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Then, it determines your location and uses GPS to try and close the gap between itself and your phone, following you around.
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The robotic functionality is made possible by Arduino Uno, an open source, electronic board used for making interactive objects. You can control the robot from the Blynk app on your phone, commanding it to do everything from bring you a cold one, to opening its lid. One criticism of the device is that it doesn’t have a built-in obstacle avoidance function, meaning that, unlike a Roomba, it can’t fully sense its surroundings and will ram into obstacles like walls or fences if it doesn’t have a clear path.
Detailed instructions and video tutorials are free, but the hardware and electrical supplies will likely cost around $100, according to YouTube channel Maker Project Lab. Hacker House estimates that it will take around 10 hours to build.
If an automated drinks cooler isn’t fully up to your robotic butler needs, the team also designed a robotic bartender—a far more complicated project that you can learn how to build here. These devices may speed up the inevitable global robot takeover, but as long as they keep us from having to carry our own booze, it’s a risk we’re willing to take.