Play music, dispense whiskey-based liqueur

Check out these rather special Arduino-based machines that play music and dispense drinks…

Thanks to Steve Bush, out technology editor, for highlighting these, with additional components including an Arduino MP3 Player shield, switches, pump motors, 43 LEDs, a multiplexor chip and solenoids to activate the associated snare and cymbal.

Apparently, the brief was “fairly relaxed” – to produce machines that could be taken to various venues to play music, attract attention, and dispense free drink samples.

The result? When you press one of the three trumpet valve slides (keys or buttons, to me) the magic begins. A random MP3 track is selected, LEDs flash in sequence behind the selected bottle, the drum and cymbal are struck by solenoids, and – crucially – a pre-set amount of liquid is dispensed. That’s a lot going on!

“There are three independent pumps within the machine, so that three flavours of drink can be dispensed. The bottles held above the trumpet bells are for display purposes only, the actual bottles from which the liquid is pumped are housed within the lower section of the casing.

Once this is set up, one of three trumpet valves can be pressed, which begins the entertainment. An MP3 is selected at random and begins playing, 43 LEDs flash in sequence behind the selected bottle and around the snare drum etc, the drum and cymbal are struck by solenoids, and finally the pre-set amount of liquid is dispensed. This takes about 14 seconds, but the speed can be adjusted via the Arduino code.”

The drink in question? Southern Comfort, with Frukt Communication commissioning the project for them, so we are in marketing territory here…but still.

One of the most difficult things, it seems, was incorporating a serious liquid pumping system that was powered electronically, for portability reasons, rather than running on CO2 or compressed air.

Nervous Squirrel

Read more about the project on And check out the wider website, it looks very interesting, created by Dave Cranmer and highlighting electro-mechanical machines and sculptures, as well as electronic projects.

It even includes a piece on the train used in the AC/DC ‘Black Ice’ tour stage set. Cue, live from the River Plate stadium,…

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