Drinking games are fun but is it really necessary for them to be so strenuous? We live in a time when we can shoot a nuclear mini cooper into space and land it with a rocket sky crane, but we can't take all the busy work out of pouring shots?
Well, no more. The fine, if slightly inebriated, people over at SmartThings have developed a machine that not only pours shots, but does so whenever America wins a medal in the Olympics. The machine pours three different types of booze to correspond with the relevant medal. Goldschlager for gold, Jose Cuervo for silver and Jack Daniel for bronze. In the event of a gold medal, a tiny American flag is hoisted aloft, blow majestically by a small fan and accompanied by a delightful light display from a disco ball.
The "Patriotic Party Machine" is of course smartphone compatible as well.
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The physical engineering behind the "Patriotic Party Machine" is fairly straightforward. There's a servo that activates a each of the spouts and dispenses an appropriate amount of alcohol. The fan, disco ball and flag arm are all activated by turning on a power strip that's been hacked to be turned on and off remotely. Here's a video of the creator laying it all out.
The interesting part is the software. All the pieces of this machine are attached to an arduino controller which is a basically a generic circuit board capable of being reprogrammed for virtually any task. That's what activates the servo to dispense the alcohol and what flicks on the power strip to start the other pieces. Behind that arduino is the SmartThings interface which appears to be some sort of programmable interactive wireless network. In other words you can send a message through your phone and turn off the lights in your living room, or activate your Patriotic Party Machine.