January 12, 2009

BaR2D2 - Bartender That Never Needs Tipping

This has to be one of the kewlest DIY projects we have ever seen. We dug it so much that we interviewed BaR2D2's creator, Jamie Price. Trust us, you are going to want one of these.

Jamie, thanks for chatting with us. You have your own business. How do you find time to create?

I have a typical office job Monday to Friday. I tend to work obsessively on a project for months, then take a break so I don't get burned out. I work in my garage during the weekends.

What inspired you to build BaR2D2?

My friend, Shaggy, showed up at a robot combat event (my other hobby) with a radio-controlled cooler. We joked about taking it to the next level and the idea grew legs and started really growing.

How long did it take?

The actual construction took about five months (keep in mind that it's not really done yet!). I sort of thought about ideas and designs for a year before starting.

About how much did it cost to assemble?

I had many of the materials on hand in the shop from other projects. I also combed eBay and craigslist for deals on the larger components. I didn't really track the cost of the final product.

BaR does so much! Did you add gradually or have a plan before building?

He was mostly planned out before building. Once I started cutting pieces and saw some of the dimensions, I did have to change one or two things. There was supposed to be one more level that contained a stereo amplifier, mp3 dock, and two 6.5" speakers. I had to eliminate that as it would have made the robot another eight inches taller and way too top heavy.

You control him by remote?

Yes, BaR2D2 is controlled by a six channel Futaba hobby radio. This controls - the drive, beer elevator, drawer, and sound effects.

Does he seem to have any glitches or navigational problems, i.e. if someone bumps into him in a drunken stupor?

BaR2D2 has been lucky so far and everyone has been really careful around him.

What kind of feedback have you gotten when you took him out on the town?

BaR2D2 made his debut at Dragon*con in Atlanta and the response was VERY positive. He attended several parties and robotics forums. You can see from the video the "wow' factor he brings to a party.

bar2d2.jpg

Have you entered BaR in any competitions? Are you planning on showing him anywhere that our readers can come see him? Maybe you should trot him down to the MegaCon in Orlando that will be held at the end of February.

BaR2D2 is currently entered into The Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest hosted at Instructables. The winner will get $20,000 in tools from Craftsman! Make sure to check out my entry and vote for BaR2D2! Note - there is also a video and tons of construction pics there.

As for future appearance, readers can check BaR2D2 out at Dragon*con 2009. A couple other appearances are in the planning stage.

Are you planning on upgrades?

Several upgrades are planned - The commercial shot dispenser is being replaced with a custom bottle rack that will hold six ingredient bottles and a pressurized air/regulator system that will electronically mix drinks from a computerized database.

How about teaching him to be a designated driver?

Maybe we can add a seat and helmet?

You said that you don't have any formal training, but this does not look like a simple project.

My dad was always building furniture in his spare time, so I picked up that from him. When BattleBots was big, I got into combat robots and learned a ton from that.

This is your latest project. What other ones have you come up with?

I built a 60-pound robot and competed in BattleBots season 4.0 and did well. After that I built a handful of others. I also build contest winning Halloween costumes and the occasional prop.

How long have you been building your creations? Do you have plans for others in the works?

I have been building crazy things for the last 10 years. As for future plans, I like to have a solid concept before I build something. I like projects that will keep me interested and that are out of the norm. Maybe I will build a friend for BaR2D2?

Do you have any interest in building one if someone asks?

If the conditions were right and there was enough creative license, I could be persuaded...

Maybe you can create one that would serve sandwiches and coffee. Conventions and large corporations would love that. Come to think of it, they would love BaR, too. Do you plan on taking him past the prototype stage?

I haven't really thought too much about its future as it really isn't complete yet.

Where can others get in touch with you for more information or help if they want to build their own?

jamieaprice@yahoo.com

Good luck and let us know when you decide to market him. And save us a t-shirt!

I may consider doing a run of shirts.

Via Jamie Price

Read More in: Interview | Make Your Own Robot | Robot Videos | Service Robots

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Posted by Sheila Franklin at January 12, 2009 8:52 AM
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