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Mr. Mix: The Automated Home Bartender

INTRODUCTION

Mr. Mix is an automated home bartender system that allows the end user to easily request a mixed beverage from the selection over a wireless network and have it prepared from the available set of liquors and mixers within the system. To accomplish this functionality, Mr. Mix operates from a microcontroller that accesses an Amazon Web Services (AWS) server to collect the variety of beverages available as well as retrieve requests from the end user who also interfaces to the server via a wireless capable device. After retrieving the request from the server, the microcontroller actuates solenoids for flow control and uses measurement calculations from the load cells to effectively pour the drink for the end user.

PRODUCT DEFINITION

Mr. Mix is designed so anyone can create new and interesting cocktails without formal training. The product is designed to work with any internet connected device and create custom cocktails with the push of a button. The device is controlled by a microcontroller with embedded wireless capabilities. By connecting to the cloud the microcontroller can receive instructions which allow the system to function properly. This allows for the controller to be a web interface accessed on any internet connected device. Mr. Mix can be used at any size gathering and all guests can order from their own devices. The intuitive interface allows drinks to be quickly ordered. The process does not distract users from their surroundings. The device allows the host to spend time with guests instead of time making drinks.

SYSTEM DESIGN

Figure 1: Mr. Mix System Architecture

Figure 1: Mr. Mix System Architecture

Mr. Mix separates the computationally intensive aspects from the physical device to lower power consumption and hardware cost. As depicted in the figure below, the microcontroller of Mr. Mix, ESP8266, communicates via Wi-Fi to the AWS server. In doing so, the application-level computation is extracted from the physical device. The AWS server provides the user with a simple front end to request a variety of mixed beverages obtained via database or combination choice of said user. Then the AWS server processes the request filtering any unauthorized users and sends the data down to the ESP8266.

Figure 3: Mr. Mix Backend Software Components

Figure 3: Mr. Mix Backend Software Components

The backend software stack for Mr. Mix is built on the Amazon Web Services platform. The software stack is split into four main components which are built on top of the AWS Cloud. Leveraging the AWS cloud allows for simple integration between components as well as robust security features supporting fine grained access control.

SYSTEM INTEGRATION TESTING

In order to ensure the final design complies with the original goals and objectives, the below Testing Plan analyzes the functionality of the final product to make sure it fully operates as specified in the engineering requirements. The main focus of this test plan covers the four main aspects of the engineering requirements: effective pouring, proper configuration, simple user interface, and low cost.

CHALLENGES

The final implementation of Mr. Mix is so far unsuccessful and no working prototype has been produced. Along the way, many challenges with the implementation details have been faced. Given more time and resources, they may have been overcome. Some of the individual components were successful, however, the entire system did not interface as one. If future time was allotted to development of Mr. Mix, a working prototype based on this design could be successfully created.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Mix as a senior project teaches that the most important phase of any large, time-consuming venture is design. Many of the preliminary prototypes although imperative for brainstorming failed due to the lack of forethought and design. After experimenting with failure, a set of requirements that Mr. Mix must accomplish narrowed down the possible implementations and provided a foundation to begin designing. Mr. Mix was first organized using a top down scheme which produced the main encompassing modules. These modules provide a highly modular design allowing for replacement or improvement to occur with little effect to the surrounding components.

The final design of Mr. Mix accomplished the original main requirements set forth at the earliest stages of planning. Despite the success of the design, the implementation comparatively is not. The design phase took longer than expected especially planning the details of each module. This delay propagated to the purchasing of components and assembly. Even with a descriptive design, implementation and debugging take a comparative amount of time to have a fully functioning product. While the implementation failed, the knowledge gained from designing and debugging was invaluable. If more time were allotted some of the implementation challenges could have been overcome and a functional prototype could have been produced.

Source: California Polytechnic State University
Authors: Brian Moore | Robert Hulbert

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