Beer dispensers are not particularly famous for having a revolutionary design or an out of the ordinary functionality, but Google employee Paul Carff is about to bring some changes to the table.
NFC (Near Field Communication) technology has been first used by Google for enabling payments via Android smartphones, but one of the employees of the company figured out that the concept could very well be used for beer dispensers, too. KegDroid, as its name suggests, is an Android device that uses kegs of beer for its final purpose. More specifically, a Motorola XOOM tablet is the Android device that is employed for controlling what some would consider every geeky beer lover’s dream. The tablet is not the only thing that turns the beer dispenser into an Android. KegDroid itself is designed as an Android mascot, and its arms end with the taps.
In addition to the Android tablet, Paul Carff also used an Arduino microcontroller for managing the two taps of the beer dispenser. The creator of KegDroid admits that he did this out of boredom, as neither brewing or drinking beer represented any challenge for him. Not only the experience of drinking beer has been changed by this device, but also the one of pouring beer into a glass. If the beer dispenser is not enough proof that Paul Carff is bored of traditional methods, then maybe his T-shirt of BEERiodic Table of the Elements will convince more people.
Probably one of the best features of KegDroid is the fact that people need to authenticate in order to drink beer from this dispenser. The XOOM tablet, which is placed in the front side of the KegDroid, as seen both in the above picture and in the following video, advises users to scan their badges to get access to the drink. Besides NFC badges, RFID ones could also be used, even though they have not been implemented in the current version of the KegDroid. The NFC badge reader is connected to the Arduino microcontroller which is found in the back of the beer dispenser. An app installed on the tablet is able to match the NFC badge to a Google+ ID, so I’m left to wonder if only Google+ users will be able to use the KegDroid. In case of a match, the ID and the picture of the Google+ account are displayed on the tablet.
Below the Android mascot there is there are the beer kegs, whose flow sensors (SwissFlow SF800, in case anyone needs to know) and valves are connected to the Arduino microcontroller. Each tap is connected to a different keg, so users are able to select the type of beer that they want to pour into their glasses, along with the desired quantity. 1, 8 and 12 ounces can be poured at once, thus giving the users the opportunity to just taste or drink a full glass of their preferred beverage. You can watch the video on Youtube.