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Toys Hardware Hacking Hardware

Programmatically Controlled Juicer 136

An anonymous reader writes "The Juicer is a wirelessly controlled, programmable juice maker which will mix each ingredient of a recipe to the exact proportions every time. The Juicer will take a recipe selection serially via either the keyboard or the wireless remote and dispense the juices into the cup below. Force and Photo sensors are incorporated to control the precise pouring. Wireless communication is controlled with two microcontrollers operating at a frequency of 433 MHz. All of this is housed by a big red frame custom made from 4130 steel."
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Programmatically Controlled Juicer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:02AM (#12405397)
    This thing looks pretty frikkin' sweet. So I could put oranges in one slot, a grape fruit in the other, and pour vodka and ice in the third, and it would make me a fresh squeezed "breakfast smoothie?" I'll take two!
  • Um (Score:5, Informative)

    by jim_v2000 ( 818799 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:04AM (#12405401)
    It's more of a juice mixer than a juicer. I had envisioned something that took fruit and turned it into juice. This was a bit of a let down.
    • Re:Um (Score:5, Funny)

      by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:13AM (#12405435) Journal

      And he looks like this [penny-arcade.com].
      • Re:Um (Score:5, Funny)

        by William Robinson ( 875390 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @08:04AM (#12405737)
        LOL.

        While we are at jokes, dunno whether this will get modded as offtopic...but could not help without posting this joke.

        Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own.

        One day a few weeks later, Bill came home. His wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong. "What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't." "Yes, I did." "My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh... she got fired too."

        Pretty soon we will see jokes about juice mixer.

    • Re:Um (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @08:34AM (#12405874)
      This was a bit of a let down.


      Same here. I was expecting something like Rube Goldberg's wet dream, what Q builds for 007. I had a mental image of a big thing with several bins containing different fruit. Each would be peeled, cut, squeezed, centrifuged, or whatever is needed to be done to get juice from that particular fruit. Don't forget the combination drill press + bandsaw with robotic feed for the coconuts. The thing should measure the exact amount of juice from each fruit, getting more if needed. Since the amount of juice comes in discrete amounts, the leftover juice would be stored in separate containers, with the date automatically recorded.


      And then, after finally loading that huge page, (congrats to the Cornell server for holding up to the /.ing) what does one get? A measly three plastic jugs on a cheap metal frame... Doh!

      • Hmm... wouldn't be hard for someone to get a BASIC Stamp or a Lego Mindstorms robot to feed fruit and veggies into one of those Jack LaLanne Power Juicers (long weekend, too many infomercials), now, would it? One arm to grab the stuff, another to hold the cap (in fact, the cap could be PART of that arm...)

        Now, your system would handle the juice amounts after that juicer, but no Rube Goldberg machine needed for the actual juicing...
    • I had been hoping for a library of juice bottles managed by a Lego Mindstorms robot. The recipies would be controlled via a slashdotted website, and it would have competitions for the most ridiculous yet good drink recipe. Every day the site visitors would submit recipes and vote on them, and the owner of the machine would have to drink the one voted up and report on how it tastes (or one of the top 5, if the one voted up is a dupe / near dupe). Alcohol should definitely be involved. An additional Minds
    • by SidV ( 800332 )
      And it's got a bleeding rubberband "Feedback" device to keep the valves shut.

      You'd think they would at least engineer it with proper valves to avoid that.

      Speacially after dishing out the extra cash for the "Poland Spring" bottles over the generic.

      Completely underwhelming.
    • Yeah, same here. This juicer sucks. ;-)
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )
      A programmatic juicer would be really impractical -- it would actually be more difficult to operate than a regular juicer. Not that an elaborate device that just mixes fruit juice is a model of practicality either. People who design stuff like that should be forced to watch Brazil [imagesjournal.com] over and over, until they grasp the concept that technology is not an end in itself!
  • by 2bitcomputers ( 864663 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:04AM (#12405402) Homepage
    I read that story and the first thing I think is, COOL I am buying one. Then I RTFA and find out its just some bored Cornell students with no jobs and too much free time on their hands. Thanks again Slashdot!
  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Fyz ( 581804 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:05AM (#12405404)
    Will this be the kind, benign wireless juice making machine, or the bad-mouthed, citrus-raping kind?
  • The Juicer will take a recipe selection serially via either the keyboard or the wireless remote and dispense the juices into the cup below.

    Is this a design flaw, or is it specifically aimed at the type of people who always leave their TV-remotes beside the TV?
  • by bosz ( 621199 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:07AM (#12405410)
    Hmmm wireless. Now I only need someone (or something) to bring the juice to me.
  • Too mechanical ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nbharatvarma ( 784546 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:09AM (#12405422)
    Mod me down, but I don't really approve mechanized perfection. Somehow making juice with exact proportions everytime frightens me.. There's got to be a little human in it. Juice may be a small thing now, but as we go on trying to make perfect stuff using machines and not with human hands... Kind of reminds me a little like Stepford's Wives.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's why version 2 is going to have a PRJG (Pseudo-Random Juice Generator).
    • by HyperChicken ( 794660 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:20AM (#12405452)

      There's got to be a little human in it.
      Soylent juice?!
    • I agree with you wholeheartedly. Mechanized stuff - food, music, etc is boring.

      Ever listen to a drum machine that plays precisely on time - sounds incredibly boring. Humans change their timing, intensity, etc - this introduces variability, which makes it more interesting and emotional. Drum machines now have been improved so that variability is incorporated into the machines rhythms, making it sound better.

      Humans need variability - at least where the senses are involved.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Humans need variability - at least where the senses are involved.


        Exactly. I am sure that my my girl friend would agree on that. Especially for sex.
    • Mod me down, but I don't really approve mechanized perfection. Somehow making juice with exact proportions everytime frightens me.. There's got to be a little human in it. Juice may be a small thing now, but as we go on trying to make perfect stuff using machines and not with human hands... Kind of reminds me a little like Stepford's Wives.

      How very true. Especially when you think that life itself is imperfect and some of the ingredients might accidentally arrive to the mixer in not-so-perfect-condition.
    • Somehow making juice with exact proportions everytime frightens me.. There's got to be a little human in it.

      A little human in your juice? WTF kind of juice are you drinking?
    • > Mod me down, but I don't really approve mechanized perfection.
      > Somehow making juice with exact proportions everytime frightens me..

      foreach my $ingredient (@ingredients) {
      $ingredient *= ((rand(10) + 95)/100);
      &add($ingredient);
      }

      There ya go, slashdot to the rescue!
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )
      quite a lot of people buy premixed juices that are mixed to perfection.

      maybe you're trolling, fishing for karma or whatever.. but your keyboard was not made by human hands either and is 'perfect' in that sense - the change happened 100+ years ago so get on the train already.
    • "Juice may be a small thing now, but as we go on trying to make perfect stuff using machines and not with human hands.."

      Uh, what's so scary about this? I ask because I'm making a rather risky assumption here that you drink cola or other bottled beverages.
    • by drsquare ( 530038 )
      The Industrial Revolution called, they want their Luddism back.
    • The orange catholic bible CLEARLY states that no machine shall be made in the likeness of a human mind. I demand that they remove this awful progammable electronic abomination and replace it with a clean, environmentally friendly mentat immediately. Seriously, guys, how many Butlerian jihads is it going to take for you guys to get the point?
    • "There's got to be a little human in it."
      • That's where the Jesus Juice comes into play.
    • I have to agree and disagree with this. When I buy juice from the store, it's premixed and perfect, which is what I want. Same would go for soda, beer, pretty much most beverages.

      When I make smoothies at home, on the other hand, I like to do it myself. I like the fact that they're never quite exactly the same. I do measure, but never worry about it being perfect, use fresh fruit which has variety in size and flavor, and then try odd combinations on top of it. Now I really want a smoothie.
  • by Froe ( 880425 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:10AM (#12405425)
    The Juicer is... the same machine that is also running the marathon for two reasons: to get an extra paycheck next year.

    Google Talk id 200 [relet.net]

    • Google says: The Juicer is... easy to use, has excellent handling and response. comfortable and inviting interior; superior towing and cargo-hauling versatility.
      • Especially the interior of the rum bottle is inviting.

        But be careful: The Juicer is not the most effective nutrition management in flower growing. 209 [relet.net]

  • by DanteLysin ( 829006 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:10AM (#12405426)
    The Wireless Bartender. Yes, even you can host coolest parties. Wireless Bartender not only comes with a comprehensive list of drinks, but allows you to create new and exciting drinks.

    Coming to a frat party near you.
  • Ob Simpsons (Score:3, Funny)

    by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:13AM (#12405437) Homepage Journal
    Prof Frink: "Finally, the perfect recipe for mixing juice. It turns out the secret ingredient is... love!? Who's been tampering with this thing?"
  • ... if it also distillated them :-)
  • by xanthines-R-yummy ( 635710 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:14AM (#12405440) Homepage Journal
    From the "Ethics" Section:

    "Again, safety was always a concern from the start. We did not compensate anyone's health, reputation, or employment during our creation of the Juicer."

    Safety? What was their test drink? The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster?

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Just saw the movie!

    • We did not compensate anyone's health, reputation, or employment

      Compensate? Do researchers normally pay anyone's healty, reputation, or employment in some form? :)
  • by zwilliams07 ( 840650 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:24AM (#12405461)
    A juice machine that mixes juice for you. I could see some applications towards commercial places selling "custom juices." But its pretty damn self defeating idea for personal use. Most people that have juicers are trying to get healthy, whats the point if you sit on your ass and make juice from the couch?

    Humanity is too fixated on making physical activity easier and less stressing on the body. Seems like a bad idea. Next thing you know there'll be a WiFi robot that takes dumps for you.
    • >Next thing you know there'll be a WiFi robot that takes dumps for you.

      No no, there'll be a WiFi robot that takes dumps from you...
    • I could see some applications towards commercial places selling "custom juices"

      That's what I thought. There must be about 25-50,000 juice bars in the U.S. They typically seem to have two or three employees. So I figure 25-50,000 machines sold in the U.S. alone if it can knock down one employee per shift.

      What's that worth? Not exactly theoretical science but not such a dumb entrepreneurial student project to laugh at.

      Of course, that's talking about 25-50,000 people who can't even sling juice for a li
      • There must be about 25-50,000 juice bars in the U.S.

        I think you have mistakenly extrapolated some small part of California to the rest of the country because there is no way there are even close to 25,000 juice bars in the U.S. Even the ubiquitous McDonalds only has about 13,000 restaurants nationwide.

        That said even if there were only a few thousand juice bars to be sold to there still could be a profit to be made. A beefier, commercial version of the juicer would need to be produced and could probabl

    • I've gotta crap right now. It'd sure be handy if a robot would take care of that, so I could keep working... I'm glad that's the next thing, so I don't have to wait for a bunch of useless inventions between the "computer controlled solonoids which have surely never been seen before" and the "robot that takes a crap for me".
  • Are these cans suitable to contain fat and acids that might be in the juice (as opposed to usual minear water)?
    Ditto for the white paint? Is the latter highly water--resistant and washable?
    Can the whole appliance be easily cleaned, including the valves?
    Is the electrical circuit insulated properly to work in a device that might spill liquids?
    Anyway, whether it is ready for a long, safe and reliable use or not, it's an interesting project for fun and learning. Mixing scents instead and transmitting th
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You could have a worm that makes the juicer produce crap.
  • reminds me of... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sometwo ( 53041 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:39AM (#12405494)
    the barmonkey: http://www.barmonkey.net/ [barmonkey.net]
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:41AM (#12405500) Homepage
    The atmel controller is NOT running at 433mhz. the wireless link is transmitting at 433mhz. the controllers are they typical OTS 20mhz controllers and this could easily be done with any 4mhz pic.

    There really is nothing too complicated with this setup, elegant use of a manufacturered bottle/container that solves one of the engineering problems, but the rest of it is fairly basic in design and implimentation.

    It certianly would add a tad bit of "coolness" at a party, but as far as being "food grade" and not grossing out some people by the exposed troughs that carry the "juices" to the cup. Hoses attacted to the bottles would be cleaner and have a higher acceptance lever with some of the more "picky" people in this world.

    On a side note, it would have been easier but not cheaper to get older pepsi or coke pre-mix containers with fittings. add CO2 to all the containers and a few of the food grade solenoids from a post-mix dispenser and you would have something highly sanitary and sanatisable, hold much larger amounts of "juice" and sustain a long life.

    Outside the CO2 regulator you could get everything you need for around $300.00 including a filled 25 pound CO2 cylinder.

    • Read the bottom chart where it talks about costs. They say it cost them $48.50 to make this, and they had $1.50 to spare. Perhaps they had a $50 budget on this?

      Also, was this some sort of project or did they really just make this all for their own enjoyment?
      • I did see that, and is a great hack for a class project. but building it for real you really want to look at items that are really for that use.

        all stainless steel and non reactive piping and connectors is very important. Screwing up with aluminim or Brass/copper will poison everyone eventually because of the acidic reaction carrying that metal into the drink and then the drinker.

        That is why commercial drink dispensers are all stainless and teflon tubing+conectors. not poisioning ourself or your guests
  • I have to ask... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:41AM (#12405501)
    What does it take to get a story rejected around here?

    I'm sure to get modded down/censored, but I really want to know? A story about a machine for pouring juice?!?!?! I mean come on... Stuff for nerds, stuff that snores.

    Hows about we just pop over to see what Computerworld [computerworld.com] has on the boil...

    • New N1 grid s/w from Sun
    • Virtualization code directly added to windows
    • "A Pragmatic Approach to Implementing ITIL Using ProactiveNet" - jeeze, I'm not really sure what *thats* about, but it sure does sound more interesting that mixing juice.
    And what about google news Sci/Tech? [google.com]
    • Astronaut comments on NASA delaying flight
    • Life on mars
    • Tiger
    Nope - I'm a loyal slashdotter, and I think I'll stick around to see if soommmethinggggg goooooooodzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzZZZZZZZzzzZZ ZZZzzZZZZzzZZZZzzzZZZZ
    • "I'm sure to get modded down/censored, but I really want to know? A story about a machine for pouring juice?!?!?! I mean come on... Stuff for nerds, stuff that snores."

      Try resubmitting those stories with a verbal reach-around about Google.
    • Timothy is back, only mindless crap or anti-Bush posts allowed.
  • So, is it like this thing [penny-arcade.com]?

  • My roommate just made a drink mixer using a basic stamp and 4 aquarium pumps. It worked pretty well and now we are working on version 2.

    Version 2 will be controlled by parallel port and could scale up to 12 bottles.

  • by cno3 ( 197688 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @06:48AM (#12405527) Homepage
    Moreover, it cost less and allowed us to spend more of the allotted budget on making the frame structure more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

    I was going to comment on how close they came to this goal, but then based on some of the case mods I've seen, the torn-label Poland Spring bottles and electrical tape contraption does seem to come pretty close to a geek's idea of eye-candy.

    Now if only they had spent a little more to line the insides of the plastic bottles with blue neon...
  • Hervé This (a molecular gastronomer [csmonitor.com]) built a machine which, given the ingredients and a formula, makes the sauce. You can make mayonaise (the formula is H\E) or meringues for example. Of course you have to know the formula.

    http://www.chemsoc.org/chembytes/ezine/2003/burke_ oct03.htm [chemsoc.org]

    "Meanwhile, This is working with the Institut für Micromechanik in Mainz, Germany, on a prototype of a machine that makes dishes from a 'calculus of recipes'." -- The machine exists now.
  • by Sunspire ( 784352 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @07:07AM (#12405571)

    I've got one.

    Not only is it wireless, it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of your taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the brain to see what is likely to be well recieved.

    However, I'm not quite sure why it does this, because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike orange juice.

    Last time I ever buy something from Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

  • I looked at the headline and read "Programmatically controlled Juror".
    • They've had those for years. Why do you think they reject anyone during jury selction who doesn't sit around watching daytime television?
    • I mean, not funny, maybe, but troll?

      If I wanted to troll, I would have said:

      "This juicer is a clear example of how Bill Gates is trying to extend his domination of the western world by replacing simple, open source technology with buggy, insecure, proprietary tech."
  • Otherwise how does it make a Margerita? :-)

    Re the post on Juicer virii, it could be kind of cool if, say, your date ended up with a triple vodka on the rocks rather than whatever non-fun thing she had requested.

    That's if she didn't run out the door after seeing how incredibly geeky you were whilst showing her your collection of smoothies. :-D
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @07:40AM (#12405655)
    What's the point of having a wireless link-- eventually you have to go to it to get the drink. What it needs is a radio direction-finder and a throwing arm. Caps for the drinks too.
  • When the 'Drink' button is pressed it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject's brain to see what is likely to be well recieved. However, no-one knows quite why it does this because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • by goneutt ( 694223 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @07:48AM (#12405679) Journal
    I'm looking over the article and there's a bunch of "FCC compliance" stuff, but nothing about NSF or FDA (yes, I ran a find) compliance. I wouldn't worry about these guys for too long, though they may be expelled for poisoning the faculty through negligence in design.
    Standards and Trademarks The Juicer is in compliance with FCC rules concerning Radio Frequency Devices located in Part 15 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. We operate at a frequency of 433 MHz and transmissions are in bursts less 10% duty cycle.
    We used Poland Spring 2.5 gallon spring water containers to hold our juices. We understand that they hold the patents and trademarks associated with their bottled water.
    We also use solenoids and force sensors which are patented by Guardian Electronics and CUI respectively.
    The Juicer is created for private personal use only and will in no way be commercialized and thus, should not infringe on existing patents.

    Overall, not a bad report, compared to some I've seen(and written). And no, that aluminum mixing trough ain't kosher. Acid+Aluminum = funk
    • The Juicer is created for private personal use only and will in no way be commercialized and thus, should not infringe on existing patents.

      Hmmm, I don't think so. Patent law does not allow anyone to build any patented device without a license, no matter what the purpose. Otherwise, you could use a patented device as part of some machine which you don't sell, but use to create something else you sell.

      that aluminum mixing trough ain't kosher. Acid+Aluminum = funk

      Aluminum has no problem with the acids

      • I use ANODIZED ALUMINUM pots and pans... the unreactive heavy aluminum oxide coating makes for a better item (if not teflon coated). Tomatoes and long cooking things can pickup funk.

        Also, think about the time variable in the juicer. If you load the machine and run through everything in 20 minutes you probably won't have a chance to pickup funk. But if a two hour wait shows up, then you'll have dried juice and the acid etch.

        nice bit on the patent law observation.
      • Patent law does not allow anyone to build any patented device without a license, no matter what the purpose. Otherwise, you could use a patented device as part of some machine which you don't sell, but use to create something else you sell.

        I have always understood that as long as you don't intend to sell or profit off of the device in question, you were free to build it. This is one of the tradeoffs for the right of a patent, the "open sourcing" of how to build your invention, so that while you have a mono

  • I dont like Juice with Bits in it !
  • From looking at the pictures, I was completely unable to comprehend where to put the fruit inside this juice maker and how it would get the juice out of the fruit. Someone here willing to give me some enlightenment?
  • The Fruit [penny-arcade.com] Fucker [penny-arcade.com] 2000 [penny-arcade.com] is here [penny-arcade.com]!
  • It's a friggin' dispenser. Nothing on this contraption actually squeezes the juice out of fresh fruit, veggies, or anything. All this thing does is measure and pour liquid from three jugs.

    Now THIS [penny-arcade.com] is a juicer!
  • All of this is housed by a big red frame custom made from 4130 steel


    I can see it's red, but why 4130? For that kind of frame they should use 1010 steel, also called "mild" steel. 4130 is steel containing 1% Molybdenum and 0.3% carbon, it's a very high strength steel, with a high resistance to shock.

  • I haven't RTFA'ed, but what doesn't the baseball players union have something to say about their juciers being programatically controller?
  • That's why I prefer the local sub shop or pizzeria to say a Subway or Domino's. I don't want the exact same thing each time. I want the preparer's mood to play into it. Sometimes you get some extra meat, sometimes some more toppings (sometimes less too). Variation spices things up.
  • by Thranduil ( 23392 ) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:56AM (#12406635)
    Wireless communication is controlled with two microcontrollers operating at a frequency of 433 MHz.

    The last thing I need to explain to my older neighbors is that my juicer crashed their wireless weather station [ukweathershop.co.uk].
  • I have a feeling it will produce something almost, but not entirely, unlike tea.
  • Cornell's letting these guys get away with this PoS? I've seen better out of an ITT Seriously, these guys made a scalable serial controlled bar mixer, sort of the same design here, but it hooked up to a PC running software to mix drinks, so it was quite a bit more impressive, especially since adding a new type of alcohol or mixer was as simple as a new module being built and a number set on it with dip switches, then adding the drink in the software. Last I saw of it, they were working on adding a shaker.
  • They still don't understand that 430MHz is right int he middle of the amateur 70cm band.

    That 'other stuff' they're filtering out with the pins are probably amateur transmissions, or could even be wind profiler radar because those are in teh 70cm band too.

    I sent them email explaining this. They really don't want an RDF team tracking them down, reporting them to the FCC and then getting a NAL for several thousand dollars.

    We'll see. I would have expected more of EE's.
  • How many hours does it take to clean the damn thing? Yeah, that's what I thought. That's the problem with juicers in general -- it takes significantly longer to clean them out than it does to make juice. So unless your getting continuous use out of it, it's not worth it. While this might work well in a restaurant setting, you don't want one in your home.

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