Over the years, Google has used its technology to change the way that we perceive the future. As a result, it seems that Google, with its introduction of new technology and experiments in futuristic ideas, is constantly finding itself newsworthy.
One of these noteworthy experiences occurred when it opened its Mountain View campus where, instead of using fuel-based lawnmowers, it brought in a herd of goats to keep the grass cut. While at this campus, the company’s out-of-the-box thinking quickly turned it into the leading search engine on the Web. However, it wasn’t satisfied with remaining stagnant and has expanded from merely being a search engine company to becoming its own software developer (think Android and Chrome). Google continues taking the world by storm.
One of its newest software programs is called KegDroid. It was invented by Paul Carff, one of Google’s technology staff. When I first looked at the information provided by Google for this app I was curious how this beer dispenser could be used outside of the home. I determined that for those of us who drink domestic beers, such as Bud or Bud Light, the KegDroid could be used to verify identity in states that require verification before alcohol can be dispensed. I am not referring to areas where law requires the showing of ID to determine one’s age, but rather states like Texas that require you join a club before hoisting a cold one.
My first experience with this concept occurred one evening when my son-in-law and I stopped at a local drinking spot for a burger and a beer. Upon arriving and placing my order, I found that this particular area of Texas required that I fill out a club membership card and present a valid ID prior to being served. Needless to say that, being a Californian, I found the system odd; it had been a good many years since anyone had asked for my ID before allowing me to down a cold one. With that being said, most of you can understand how a technology guru like me might wonder why, in this modern day of computers, anyone would rely on such an archaic system to simply let someone drink a beer with their meal. Bars could find the KegDroid a real asset as it would take the responsibility of identity verification out of the hands of the bartender.
So what is KegDroid and how does it work?
KegDroid is basically an automated beer dispenser that works by identifying you through an ID card system of your choosing. The beer dispenser operates using the Google Android OS and comes complete with a Xoom tablet system.
Once you have cleared your identity with the KegDroid, the machine, which is filled with beer and has a microprocessor, controls the dispensing of the beer. Under the KegDroid is a refrigerator that holds the chilled beer containers and other associated hardware. From the video below, it appears that the KegDroid is fairly straightforward, allowing you to select the type of beer you wish and the size of container you are using. After that, you just pull the handle and the beer is dispensed into the container.
Some suggestions to improve the KegDroid:
- Include an IF chip right on the glass.
- The reader should be in front of the handle.
- Increase the size of the refrigeration unit to hold more brews.
I realize that these modifications may have already been thought of since the KegDroid is a prototype and that means that additional improvements will be forthcoming. Given that, I can see where the KegDroid could become a fixture at any busy bar for the self-service members of the crowd who wish to help themselves to a glass of beer. If this were made available, it would prevent bar lines and/or the need to stand around for a wait-person or bartender during those times when a bar may be packed with patrons. It would most likely also increase bar profits since people wouldn’t get tired of waiting and leave. It is also feasible to assume that the bar would be able to cut the number of waitresses needed to care for patrons, thus reducing overhead costs for the owner.
Futuristically, I can further envision a KegDroid or similar device being equipped with an ID scanner and credit card reader to make your purchase of a beer even more hassle-free.
Is this farfetched? I don’t think so. After all, we have all become accustomed to serving ourselves and an automated beer dispenser will be just one more self-service option to add to our lives. I personally believe that this approach to beer dispensing is not only novel but also one that, with its cool, feature-rich appearance, would be easily accepted by the public. Over all, I think that the KegDroid is something that would attract customers and one that I believe could easily be adapted for use in any pub.
I have to note, however, that the KegDroid does have some competition. Its competitor, also in the prototype phase, is called the KegBot Project. This beer dispenser also uses Android technology to operate the beer dispenser. This project, however, is just that. It appears to be a do-it-yourself type of project for which you can order parts and plans to build your own fully functional computerized keg dispenser.
Is a computer-operated keg going to be part of your life?
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Greencolander