Steve Norris of Boston, MA, wrote in with his latest project: a robot that’ll bring you a beer.

The Beverage Delivery System (BDS) is an ambitious project of mine to create a fully automated inter-home delivery system. Anyone who has built a robot has, at one point or another, been asked the question “but can it bring me a beer?”; I’m sure that like me, roboticists all over the world have grown weary of this question. The Beverage Delivery System is the answer to this age old problem, a problem that has plagued mankind since the invention of the canned beverage.

Baxter is the transport component of my Beverage Delivery System (BDS). Supporting Baxter is a fixed location dispenser robot called RoboFridge. You can think of a RoboFridge as a kind of soda vending machine that does not require money. Like a real vending machine RoboFridge supports the dispensing of canned beverages. The concept of the BDS could even be extended to non-food items like medications, DVDs and books.

The BDS process starts when a user requests an item using a simple remote control. Baxter is activated from his sleep mode and navigates to RoboFridge using a variety of navigation techniques. These include dead reckoning using encoders, IR beacons, and line following. Once he arrives Baxter will initiate a docking sequence with RoboFridge. After docking, RoboFridge deposits the canned beverage into Baxter’s cargo area. Baxter then undocks and navigates back to the thirsty user to deliver the beverage.

Finally I can get a frosty cold beverage delivered to me in my favorite easy chair without any effort or argument!