In a world where many strive to come up with biggest, best and zaniest inventions, it's a rarity to find one that's truly practical.
Ryan Rusnak, a Virginia Tech grad, clearly comprehends the beauty of ultra-utilitarian household appliances, because he and two other VT alumni, Josh Lilly and Graham Phero, developed one of the most sensible contraptions ever to grace planet Earth: the BeerBot.
This BeerBot isn't any old, robotized machine designed to retrieve your beer. It's a high-powered fridge that lets you select the specific beer you're lusting after and then tosses it to you from across the room via a phone application.
"I use the robot everyday," says Rusnak. "It just feels good to fire a cannon from an iPhone and get a beer in the process."
Say goodbye to thirst-pangs interrupting the big game or a video game marathon. Now all you have to do is press a button and voila, a delicious beer is hurdling right toward you. Now that's the essence of practicality.
Continue reading to watch a video of the BeerBot in action and to learn how Rusnak and his crew built it.
Rusnak says the idea stemmed from his interest in micro controllers. He wanted to see if he could devise an iPhone-controlled vending machine, so he cut a hole in a beat up mini fridge and threw some Plexiglass over it.
Using an iobridge 204 micro controller -- fancy speak for invisible electro-thing that connects phone to fridge -- allowed the physical action of vending the beer to be triggered by pushing a button on his iPhone.
"Once I had a working Internet vending machine, I wasn't satisfied," Rusnak explains to Asylum. "I called Graham to decide how we could get the beer from the fridge to the couch. After a few days of deliberation, we somehow arrived that compressed air would just be awesome."
So the two built several prototype beer cannons. According to Rusnak, they went through about a whole case of hoppe goodness before arriving at the magical number between mini punt and beer-on-ceiling.
Though the project took a lengthy three months and included a lot of clean up along the way, all that hard work was, needless to say, worth the trouble.