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Smartphone-Controlled Brewbot Gets aHead with Kickstarter

beer glass
Beer drinkers with a family history of alcoholism may get a big dopamine surge from the taste of beer alone. (Image credit: Rita Juliana | Stock Xchng)

A craft-beer-brewing robot that can be controlled by a smartphone has garnered about $100,000 from 195 backers on online crowdfunder Kickstarter.

On its Kickstarter page, the Brewbot is described as "an easy-to-use, controlled environment that is aesthetically pleasing, and frees up brewers to focus on the recipes. You don't need to know anything about brewing."

The robot will automatically control tedious details such as temperature and proportion, leaving brewers free to tweak recipes.

Brewmeisters would purchase ingredients for beer, place them in the Brewbot, send the appliance a recipe (perhaps for a 10,000-year-old beer) and instructions via their iPhone, and then sit back and relax as the rest is taken care of by the machine. After brewing a batch of beer, an automatic cleaning mode will sanitize the appliance.

The device, which is about 4 feet (121 centimeters) high, uses stainless steel tanks and an open-source platform for programming. When finished, Brewbot will work with a kegerator, a beer-dispensing device that keeps a keg full of beer chilled and tasty for months.

While the device may allow people to tinker with their own recipes, it's not for the dilettante: The team anticipates the completed device costing about $3,200.

The Brewbot is just the latest example of human ingenuity applied to the enjoyment of the frosty beverage: In August, beer drones delivered the hoppy brew to thirsty concert attendees at South Africa's OppiKoppi music festival, and Budweiser's Brazilian division developed the Buddy Cup, a micro-chipped cup that posts an update on a person's Facebook page each time the cup is clinked with another person's at a party.

The Brewbot designers have already built a prototype, but are still hoping to earn additional money to make a marketable product. The Brewbot has 19 days left to reach their goal of $161,000 in funding on Kickstarter.

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Tia Ghose

Tia is the assistant managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.