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May 19, 2017

This do-it-yourself autonomous cooler will follow you wherever you go

by John_A

Why it matters to you

This self-driving DIY cooler won’t make your arms and back suffer if you want a cool drink on the beach.

OK, so having to lug your cooler down to the beach on a hot day probably does not rank up there in the top hundred problems the world faces. But, hey, we’re all for innovative uses of technology.

With that in mind, we have to applaud California-based hacker-engineers Aaron and Davis of Hacker House [who asked to have their last names withheld]. The duo leant their considerable expertise to constructing a robotic cooler — designed to trundle along automatically behind its owner, like a faithful dog which happens to contain chilled beverages.

“The cooler is controlled through an Android IoT app called Blynk,” Aaron told Digital Trends. “In the GPS streaming mode, the cooler will actively follow you. In the GPS waypoint mode, the user can send the cooler to a specific coordinate or instruct it to follow a path of coordinates. There is also servo inside the cooler that opens and closes the lid at the tap of a button. In the future, we’re interested in using computer vision and LIDAR to detect obstacles. We’ll probably have to add more computing power for that.”

Like any hacker worth his or her salt, Aaron and Davis are not hoarding the creation purely for themselves, however. They have posted instructions on the website, which details how similarly thirsty geeks can construct their own unit — using off-the-shelf DIY products, an Arduino, and a few other bits and pieces. The total build time is in the vicinity of 10 hours and, while it’s one for the slightly more advanced makers out there, at least you know there is a great relaxation-based reward at the end of it.

“I don’t think we’ll commercialize this one,” Aaron said when we asked if there is the chance of a possible Kickstarter or similar down the line. “We usually open source all of the code, materials, and instructions for our projects to show everyone that with the accessibility of today’s technology, you don’t need to be an engineer to create almost any device you can imagine.”

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