Tag Archives: KegSmarts

7 Arduino projects that every beer aficionado will love

Celebrate International Beer Day with some of our favorite over-engineered projects. After all, there’s a ‘EE’ in beer for a reason! 

International Beer Day is a celebration that occurs on the first Friday of August every year. Since its inception in 2007, the unofficial holiday has grown from a small localized event in Santa Cruz, California into a global event spanning 207 cities, 50 countries and six continents. Specifically, IBD has three declared purposes: to gather with friends and enjoy the taste of beer, to celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving beer, and to unite the world under the banner of beer. Well, we’ve added one more: to highlight 10 of the most innovative Arduino-powered projects from beer-loving Makers.


The brainchild of Hackaday’s Brian Benchoff, the aptly named HaDuino is an Arduino clone that lets you swap out your bottle opener. More of a spoof than anything else, the hilariously awesome PCB features a pixellated HaD logo on the back, while a disclaimer etched on the front shares that it can’t actually open bottles — or maybe just one so far. What’s more, it has an ATmega168 at its core. We’ll cheers to that!


“The concept of a PCB shape that can reliably open a bottle of beer isn’t all that far-fetched. We think part of the problem is lack of an appropriately place fulcrum. Also, a more robust protrusion needs to be designed to latch on the underside of the cap. Because the design files are available, this is just screaming for someone to hack up a better version,” Mike Szczys writes.

We wonder how long before we see a similar board at hackathons throughout the world… After all, how many times have you found yourself looking for a nice, refreshing beverage in the middle of a long engineering sesh? See it in action here.

Robotic Bottle Opener

We’ve all been there: The big game is about to start, you head over to the fridge to grab a cold brewski, only to find out it isn’t a twist-off cap and there’s no bottle opener in sight. Luckily, thanks to a group of Makers, you won’t even need to get up from the couch let alone have to open your own beer.


After stumbling across the old robotic device, the team led by Sasha Schrandt decided that it would be a good idea to bring this piece of technology back to life and to give it a new purpose, one in which would come in handy for a day like today. That purpose? To become an automated beer opener.

The robot is controlled by an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega328) attached to a relay shield. Connected to those are three recycled DC motors, switches, wires, and a couple resistors. Additionally, the Makers employed a couple zip ties, nuts, bolts, washers and short screws, along with a MDF board to mount everything on, and eight empty soup cans plus various scrap pieces of metal and rods.

Schrandt reveals that there were four primary tasks to prepare the hardware for the robot. These included weight reduction of the robot arm to allow maximum torque / force from the arm; bottle holders for the beers (which were created using the empty soup cans); mount the bottle opener and limit switches to the robot; and, mount the robot parts to a sheet of MDF to maintain alignment.

Automated Brewing Machine

A Maker who goes by the name “The_Meatloaf” has built a fully automated beer brewing machine using an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) to power a four-button interface capable of saving and executing up to 26 different recipes. The gadget, which was designed in the context of a computer engineering degree program, was constructed entirely from scratch over the course of a year.


This automated system  most of the guesswork from an otherwise complex brewing process. The brewer starts by heating the water in the first keg using a 2000W heating element, after which the water transfers into the mash vessel via servo valves, where it’s stirred by a mixing motor.

The machine then drains the wort (the resulting liquid after mashing) and sparges (adds more water to the mash tun) the grains as programmed. The wort is brought to a boil for the programmed amount of time, while a servo-controlled ‘hopper’ automatically adds the hops. Finally, a counter-flow heat exchanger rapidly cools the solution to room temperature using ice water, then dispenses the solution for fermentation.

Smart Kegerator

Before intelligent kegerators like KegSmarts hit the scene, Maker Joey D’Anna could not seem to find a commercial unit that would satisfy his brewing needs. So, just as any other DIYer would do, he took it upon himself to devise a comprehensive system equipped complete with temperature monitoring, with a tap on the kegerator itself and a cooled tap remotely mounted at his bar.


The project is built around a freezer box, with a new collar made of 1/4” HDPE plastic for mounting the gas lines, the beer and electronics. While temperature control is handled by a commercial controller, the actual monitoring is achieved through a homebrewed (no pun intended) solution. An Arduino Uno (ATmega328) sits in a custom aluminum case on the outside of the kegerator, tasked with reporting temperature, beer type and commanding the cooling system for the beer lines.

The cooling system was designed in CAD and the parts were cut on a CNC mill. Two air chambers sit atop the aluminum box, one pushing cold air up to the tap, another sucking air back into the freezer to create circulation. The entire line set is insulated with 2″ fiberglass flex duct. Meanwhile, D’Anna can keep tabs on the real-time data and trend graphs on the web, as well as on Raspberry Pi-driven LCD touchscreen on the bar’s wall.

Beer-Driven Time Card System

Let’s face it, no one enjoys filling out timesheets — yet they are imperative in order to get paid. That’s why Minneapolis ad agency Colle + McVoy has dreamt up a new way to not only get employees to fill out their time cards, but to reward them with some draft beer.


Dubbed TapServer, the multi-keg beer deployment system combines RFID tags and some custom-written software to seamlessly sync with the agency’s time-keeping application. On the hardware side, the program is comprised of several Arduino Uno boards (ATmega328), a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi.

Employees are given RFID-enabled key cards, which they scan at the TapServer. This instantly verifies whether their timesheets are up-to-date. If their records are indeed complete, employees use the connected iPad to select their beer, then pull their pint. As an added feature, TapServer can also keep track of ounces consumed per employee and beer brand.

Beer-Making Robot

Successfully funded on Kickstarter back in 2013, Brewbot is a smart brewing appliance that can be controlled and monitored right from a smartphone. Never brewed before? No worries! The Cargo crew aspired to make an easy-to-use environment that was not only aesthetically pleasing to the yes, but would free up brewers to focus on the recipes.


The whole process is pretty simple. Purchase ingredients from a local brew shop or online, setup your recipe in its accompanying app and connect your iPhone to the Brewbot. From there, you can create your own or choose a pre-set recipe to begin the brewing process by simply tapping ‘start.’ The machine will then automatically add the exact amount of water to be heated. Once heated, the valve in the container releases and the water runs into the mashtun, where the grain lies. At the end of the process the wort filters through the plate cooler, cooling it from 100°C to under 22°C, now ready to ferment.

Its creators used stainless steel vessels as fermentation tanks, which are sealed and opaque given that hops are light sensitive. Light (especially UV rays) will ruin the beverage and produce off-flavors. After all, nobody wants skunked beer!

Tweeting Dispenser

Having come across an empty beer fridge one too many times, the team at Metalworks crafted an approval system for dispensing malted beverages. The simple trick was to remove the physical controls on a can dispenser, making it so that the only way you can get a cold drink is to ask the machine via Twitter. If there’s beer inside, it waits for one of your approved co-workers to give the green light. Otherwise, you’re out of luck!


The crew has made two different versions of the gizmo. The first was a hacked refrigerator with a dispenser hole cut in the door.  It was powered by the combination of an Arduino-Ethernet Shield connected to the Thingspeak API, which drove the servo motors to vend the chains. The latter was a more compact device equipped with an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and Wi-Fi shield that interfaced with the electronics of a commercially available can dispenser. It was upgraded to run on MQTT language (via Cosm) due to overheads with parsing JSON.

11 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week

Every Friday, we’re taking a look at some of the smartest, most innovative projects that have caught our attention on Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the last seven days. 



This conductive ink printer will let you go create circuit boards in less than an hour. Voltera is currently seeking $70,000 on Kickstarter.



This LED lighting system lets you add shining colors and special lighting effects to your home garden with one tap of your finger. The MIPOW team is currently seeking $10,000 on Kickstarter.



These smart cups are bringing loved ones together through a series of sensors, Bluetooth 4.0, an LED strip and a little bit of coffee. When one cup is filled, the other will glow. ENTACUP is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.



This small wearable Bluetooth device can accurately measure temperature and humidity, as well as display the data on your smartphone. Simply pair Tempi with your phone and begin tracking your environment. The Vencipio team is currently seeking $20,000 on Kickstarter.



This multi-purpose, Bluetooth-enabled smart lamp can serve as a lantern, speaker and mobile notification center, among many other things. BROOGS is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.



This Wi-Fi-enabled device can attach to an existing beer fridge or part of PicoBrew’s kegerator unit to give you readings on exactly what’s happening with your brew via its OLED screen. PicoBrew is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

InBody Band


This snap-on device features a simple touchscreen display and four sensors located on its front and back that allow you to retrieve a body composition reading in just seconds. InBody is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Coolest Clock


This highly-versatile projection clock is designed to project a lot more than time. Coolest Clock is currently seeking $20,000 on Indiegogo.

RasPiO Duino


This add-on board is allowing Makers to experience the capabilities of Arduino right on a Raspberry Pi. RasPiO Duino is currently seeking £3,456 on Kickstarter.



This light, foldable and fully-equipped urban e-scooter hopes to shake up the portable transportation mark. ELECTRICMOOD is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

tago arc


This wearable band is putting a customizable curved e-ink screen right on your wrist. Liber8 Technology is currently seeking $40,000 on Indiegogo.

Did you happen to miss last week’s notable campaigns? If so, you can check them out there.

KegSmarts is a Wi-Fi keg monitoring system

Meet the world’s smartest kegerator.

Previously seen on Bits & Pieces, PicoBrew is a Seattle-based startup with some lofty aspirations of starting an Internet of Beer revolution. As the IoT continues to infiltrate just about every facet of our daily lives, who’s to say it shouldn’t make its way into the man cave and pub scene as well, right?


You’re not alone. In fact, a Kickstarter campaign for the company’s first product garnered well over $600,000. The Zymatic enables you to craft fresh beer right from the comfort of your home. To use, simply pour your desired amount of malted barley, hops and water, then push a couple buttons to set a recipe. Three or so hours later, that water is turned into beer. Add in a week of fermentation, and you have yourself three gallons of some good ol’ ale. What’s more, the metal oven-like system is driven by an ATmega1284P MCU.

However, why stop there? Not long after, the team returned to Kickstarter with their latest innovation, KegSmarts. Billed as the world’s first smart craft beer kegerator, it can work as either a standalone on any three-inch diameter tap tower or paired with the Zymatic to provide an all-encompassing brew ’n serve solution. The microcontroller-driven gadget provides real-time information such as beer name, style, data, servings remaining, temperature and more on an OLED display, which can all be monitored from a mobile device via Wi-Fi.


PicoBrew features a full-out network that will let you discover new breweries in your area, while easily adding recipes and information to its growing online library as well. This also allows you to track how many servings are remaining and know what type of beer is being dispensed, among many other things. Meanwhile, built-in sensors help maintain an optimal serving temperature.

Most recently, the startup unveiled a number of a new social community component that automatically tweets and posts on Facebook whenever beer is poured, when new beer kegs are tapped, when kegs are low or empty, and to warn of error conditions. Beyond that, a dynamic brew map with reviews and ratings is integrated with a personal “brewhouse” web-portal, enabling you to view and share your beer experience with your pals.

“Buying craft beer from the brewery in growlers, cans or bottles is OK, but nothing beats fresh draft beer on tap. If you buy your craft beer in kegs and use your own kegerator, you know your beer’s fresh and you have a reasonable supply. You can also feel better about your cost-per-pint and environmental impact. Kegerators are great, but they have a few flaws,” its creators note. “Among them include an inability to tell what kind of beer is on tap, to inform the drinker of what they’re consuming and to offer precise temperature control — each of which KegSmarts is looking to solve.”


If you’re constantly concerned about your homemade brew or the kegs at your house parties, this smart device could be just the thing for you. Pricing for the KegSmarts head unit starts at $199 and $799 for those requiring the entire setup. Head over to its official site to learn more.