500SW BarBot

Front page for the 500SW BarBot

Introducing the 500SW

An interactive cocktail making bar-bot with rhythm.


A robot. That serves cocktail drinks. Chosen via dancing. Fork it on github

Cheering after dancing

Because it’s 5:00 Somewhere


There may be some sweet robotic bartenders out there and they may break long-standing barriers of robot-alcohol-human interaction. Still– button-pressing or a menu-clicking for drinks at inebriated social events keep robots more as servants rather than the center of attention they should be. We wanted to make something more unique, interactive, and way more fun!

With the 500SW you dance for your drink. The robot judges your dance performance and makes your drink accordingly! It creates a participatory experience with the person (or robot) dancing. It never fails to involve everyone around with cheering (and sometimes a little cringing).

Robot dancing

This freestyle dance dynamic means you can’t simply choose the drink you’re going to get. Here the robot judges your dancing so you can judge its bartending ability! This creates a tailored experience more akin to a specialty bar where a bartender creates cocktails tailored for your personality.

In developing the 500SW we noticed that BarBots almost always lacked a stirring capability. We came up with a magnetic-spun stirrer to mix the drink after it’s been poured to make sure the drinks are blended perfectly. It adds some movement to an otherwise static robot and a finishing touch to a great drink.

Drinks it serves

The 500SW serves vodka-based cocktails. Everything blends with vodka and there’re so many creative drinks to make.

While it would be fun to pour more or less alcohol depending on the dancing ability (and thus, often, the level of inebriation of the player), we created the robot for an event where people pay for their drinks. Because of this the current recipes all contain about the same amount of alcohol. What changes is the complexity of the drink: bad dancers will get common cocktails such as cape cod or screwdriver, while good dancers can get a cosmopolitan or even - top of the top - a great creamsicle martini. The recipes are easy to change in the code, and measured in fl. oz. Because the bot contains only 6 bottles, it’s pretty challenging to choose which liquors and mixers to use in order to make 6 cocktails but feel free to change it for your taste!

  • Creamsicle martini
  • Cosmopolitan
  • White russian
  • Black russian
  • Screwdriver
  • Cape Cod

BarBot front

Getting a drink

When the player is ready they press the button on the robot’s front. It counts-down with the front-facing LEDs then starts playing a random song for 20 seconds (There are two speakers embedded into the casing). They player then freestyles on a DDR pad (a dance pad) as they desire. After 20s, the robot displays which dancing style it thinks the player has, and immediately starts pouring a drink.

After the drink is poured, a stirring bar is lowered into the drink for a few seconds. After the drink is stirred the bot lights up with a celebratory dynamic rainbow pattern– ready for the dancer.

How it works

6 bottles are connected by food-safe tubing to solenoid valves. When these are open they deliver ingredients to a glass placed in the pouring compartment. The pouring measurement is all gravity-fed, which we noticed was accurate enough for the drinks we wanted to make. (Within 0.1 fl. oz.)

Bottles closeup

The arduino controls most of the robot. It manages the LED patterns (for the dancing ability and the LEDs in the pouring compartment), the opening of the solenoid valves used to pour each liquid, the button and the magnetic stirrer. Everything runs in a non-blocking control loop.

We use a computer to collect the steps from the dance pad and run the algorithm that judges the dancing ability. The computer also plays the music. Once the judging is done it sends the selected drink to the Arduino.

The stirring bar is attached to a servo and is made of food-save polymorph plastic surrounding 2 magnets. Under the cup is a motor with magnets attached to it, which makes the stirring bar rotate!

Parts list


  • Front and 2 bottom layers: 2x4 feet 1/8” opaque grey acrylic
  • Sides, back, compartment and top 3 layers: two 2x3 feet transparent 3/16” acrylic
  • Labels: 1x1 foot transparent 1/16” acrylic
  • pair of speakers


  • DDR pad something like this
  • Arduino board (we used the Uno) sparkfun
  • Breadboard sparkfun
  • 6 Mosfets to drive the solenoids sparkfun
  • 6 bottles (we used ‘Hello mouthwash’ because we liked the shape!)
  • 6 12V solenoid valves
  • plastic tubing
  • 6 ping pong balls for LED diffusers
  • Addressable LED strip (8 LEDs) sparkfun


  • Computer fan (to spin the stirrer)
  • Strong magnets (get some from an old hard drive)
  • Polymorph moldable plastic sparkfun
  • Servo


  • Acrylic cement
  • Gluegun
  • Soldering iron
  • Exacto knife
  • Sandpaper

Fun dancing

Make One!

coming soon!