Re: Before the electronics...
Why do you need the containers ?
Make a beer cannon and launch a slug of liquid beer right into the recipient's glass.
The Register needs to build a robot capable of transporting multiple pints of beer without spilling a drop. Can you help? Vulture Central has moved to a shiny new shared collaboration space in central London, which, among other exciting advances, features a selection of beers to refresh thirsty hacks, weary from a day of …
"Make a beer cannon and launch a slug of liquid beer right into the recipient's glass."
That could be doable. Hack one of those table tennis playing bots for the spotting capabilities and use a fast electrically operated valve to send a portion under pressure, not forgetting the nozzle needs to packed with fine hollow needles to optimise laminar flow like they do in modern dancing fountains. You might want to use a 2pt glass to catch the 1pt in so as to minimise waste by sloshing at the destination. Probably best to use a relatively flat beer too.
Disclaimer: Range may be limited by low ceilings.
launch a slug of liquid beer right into the recipient's glass.
Spreadage dear boy, spreadage. What starts off as a 10cm blob of beer might well turn into a 2m blob of beer, thus wasting most of it.
Far better to freeze it first and have it fly through a very high power microwave beam just before it hits the glass.
There may be one or two health and safety implications to high-power microwave beams in the office but the product engineers can sort that out. I'm an imagineer, I don't work with that sort of mundane trivia.
Now, where do I collect my design award?
 Of course, depending on the quality of the beer, this may be a Good Thing(TM).
> Suspended cradle? You mean like the trays/tables etc they've had on small boats for donkey's years?
Exactly that. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel; I'm one to take a traditional bicycle to the pub.
Actually, fuck this project: if Ref staff can't nip down the local boozer at lunchtime, they have no right to call themselves journalists. For shame.
Install some railway lines - it will make it nice and easier. You can put up fences along the lines, and then you dont need to worry about pedestrians/obstacles on the track. Loading and unloading might be a problem, but well we'll save that for another day/thought experiment.
Alternatively, a Roomba with a tray on top would probably work pretty well and you can probably claim it as a cleaning expense. (And it can actually clean up any mess it makes after hours! Bonus!). Getting it to bring the beer directly to you might take some creative use of those electronic wall things they come with. But I'm sure you can manage it...
Now if only your offices were open-plan to the bar, a modification of the well-known potato cannon would allow delivery of canned beverages (there are really some very good canned offerings nowadays...) direct to the desktop as demonstrated here:
Ballistic delivery of real ale is possible, With practice the english pint can be swung underarm and thrown and caught up to around 20' away with 'acceptable' spilling after a few minutes practice. Alas after a couple of hours practice it starts to go wrong again and can require repairs to catching arm and oral interception is to be avoided at all times.
Vulture Central has moved to a shiny new shared collaboration space in central London, which, among other exciting advances, features a selection of beers to refresh thirsty hacks, weary from a day of making up new backronyms for TITSUP.
Does the above not describe a Pub and do Pubs not come with bar staff?
Go big or go home is my suggestion.
Get a Corny Keg and CO2 canister mounted onto a powered chassis. You could add a Raspberry Pi as a controller with a camera and then drive the whole unit round the office without leaving the desk. Corny keg will hold about 30 pints in total and you could also encourage the creative types to BYOB (Brew Your Own Beer). Serving is straight forward using a hand held dispenser.
You could also dress it up a little, Johnny 5 pints?
Corny keg will hold about 30 pints in total and you could also encourage the creative types to BYOB (Brew Your Own Beer).
Well, yes, but the Corny Keg will only satisfy the demand for one particular beer at a time. So, there's a certain mismatch between the requirements and your proposed solution; a mismatch that is also present in some of the other proposals.
The bot is always ready and connected to a power source in an alcove using some type of contact that can be decoupled without intervention. The PFY picks up an RIFD token (or its in his shoe) and loudly pronounces "BEER OCLOCK" which is the voice activated notification for the bot to home in on the token. The bot then proceeds to the token whilst avoiding obsticals; it may help if the PFY starts the proceedure infront of the bot so it can find him, or else have the bot learn of obsticals on previous visits so it can navigate to the PFY when there isnt a clear line-of-site path to him.
The bot should come equiped with a tray that is independatly stabalised and will account for acceleration and deceleration.
A further feature is that after the PFY anounces "BEER OCLOCK" anyone who wants a drink must loudly procalim "MAKE MINE A x" and the bot will note the relative location and drink type and attemp to deliver each drink to its recipient after it has made it back to a known location, or at least past the door.
It could potentially use all the millions of WIFI networks to help triangulate its position.
I must say that simply getting a keg and a glass is far reducing the efforts required than an automated delivery service.
The challenge is keeping the snacks and pork scratching's crispy long enough for the keg to run out.
The challenge for the really movement impaired Reg hack though is the automated toilet desk chair.
I'm suddenly associated Reg staff as the people in the Wall-E movie ... Perhaps they need to get out more and do a camera review or see how far their wifi can be used from the door or other low strain IT japes...
"The initial brief would have the robot follow whichever member of staff has been nominated to collect the beer. Once loaded with beer, the robot would then autonomously follow the staff member back to the office, automatically dodging any obstacles along the way."
So you want a remote controlled tray?
That's hardly up there with LOHAN and PARIS is it?
> Vulture Central has moved to a shiny new shared collaboration space in central London, which, among other exciting advances, features a selection of beers to refresh thirsty hacks
Is that just a fancy way of saying you've been evicted from your offices and are now holed up in the local pub?
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