Youtube user motoengine2009 created this impressive self-balancing water tray, to keep their drink from spilling while driving in a car. There don’t seem to be any details available online, but they claim it runs on an Arduino. Nice work! [via Make: Japan]

26 thoughts on “Using an Arduino to keep your drink from spilling

  1. … but a rather cool application of (presumably) live accelerometer data.

    It does look like that’s an Arduino in the plastic case, USB on the left, power on the right.

    I wonder if the cup was fixed to the tray or if a grippy surface plus the inertial compensation was sufficient to keep it from flying off.

  2. I guess it is some kind of non slick padding that they are using to keep the cup on there. Also a 3 axis accelerometer for X side to side,Y front to back, and Z for changes in elevation

  3. It’s like a segway in reverse!

    Part of me wants to believe this works 100% as advertised, part of me is suspicious about it not once bouncing into the air…

    1. As to it not bouncing off, there’s this magic material called velcro.

      That aside, my local McDonalds has a nice low-cost solution to this problem involving putting a plastic lid on the cup.

  4. What an overly-complicated way to accomplish something. You could just suspend your drink by its rim in a swinging cradle to do the same freakin’ thing.

  5. Looking at the video in slo mo, I’m not convinced it is even working. To illustrate, there should be a level, and three cups in the video frame. The level to indicate horizontal,
    One cup with no attachments, one cup with just a gimbal, and
    the third cup as shown. All three cups should be at the same height . Then you could compare the three methods. Frosting, would be to have the speedometer in the video frame as well.
    Bill in Denver

  6. Assuming that this is real, it is brilliant! Any attempt at “simply” hanging a cup on a pendulum in a car would result in a spilled drink. Think about the oscillations of the pendulum and the free surface effect.

  7. First, it saddens me that the cup is only half full (or is that half empty?).

    Second, it would have been way cool if they had ended the test with a collision and showed the cup not spilling a drop (despite the unfortunate demise of the driver, but he wasn’t the point of the experiment anyway, right?).

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