Making mixed drinks can be a tricky business for non-bartenders, so various people have invented machines that do it – witness the likes of the Inebriator, the Social Drink Machine, and the Bartendro. These machines are complex arrangements of tubes, pumps and bottles, however, that aren’t likely to ever see use by regular consumers. That’s why John Gallagher has created the Barman. It guides the user through the drink-making process, and can tell how much of each ingredient is being added based on its mass.
The 9-volt battery-powered Barman device itself appears to be simply a glossy wooden block, with an LCD screen and an LED bulb embedded in it. Users start by placing an empty glass over the LED. Inside of the device, among other things, is a scale. Using a process known as differential weighing, it’s able to disregard the weight of the glass and ice, so it only registers the mass of the liquid or solid drink ingredients.
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Hundreds of drink recipes are available via the Barman app – users can tweak these recipes to their liking, or add their own creations. That app is able to communicate with the Barman via Bluetooth.
Once a drink has been selected on the app, a prompt for the first ingredient appears on the Barman’s LCD screen, and the LED causes the glass to glow blue. As the user adds that ingredient, a progress bar appears along the bottom of the screen, letting them know how how much more of that ingredient they still need to add. The LED/glass flashes red once enough of that first ingredient has been added, after which the light returns to blue, and a prompt for the next ingredient appears.
This process continues until the drink is completed.
Because the recipes are based on relative proportions and not just specific weights, drinks of varying sizes can be made – users just select between different sizes on the app.
Gallagher is currently raising production funds for the Barman, on Kickstarter. While the early bird specials are already taken, you can still get one for a pledge of US$49 – when and if they reach production. The commercial version will likely be made of tempered glass instead of wood, and will be compatible with iOS and Android devices.
More information is available in the pitch video below.