Running in the Halls is an interactive product developer in Huddersfield and was asked to build a unique tea-making machine that uses basic AI for a television show in the UK. The developer delivered and manufactured R2-Tea2, which chats with a user using text messages and brews a cup of tea based on the mood of the user.
The developers were asked to design the tea maker that could communicate with the show’s host, Guy Martin and should be made of components that can easily be found. The R2-Tea2 asks the host how he’s feeling and has a phone number of its own. It has built-in functions to whip up different kinds of teas based on different situations.
If the host is tired then it will make a strong cup of tea or say he is working in a garage, it will select a cup which has the ability to withstand a few knocks. A Python application running on a Raspberry Pi mini-computer has been scripted by Running in the Halls and is used to control the operation of R2-Tea2. There is another app that caters to the interface with custom-built chatbot scripts.
The tea maker has the ability to select different cups via a gravity-driven system. The chosen cup is moved along a conveyor belt built using a stepper motor, shelving brackets, nuts, bolts, and plastic pipes. There is a robotic arm that picks up the tea bag and holds it in the cup while a physical switch controlled by a servo powers on a kettle. Once the water is boiled, it is pumped out of the kettle into the cup and adds milk if the user has opted for it.
Now that is a cool invention. A hot cup of tea can make us feel better in no time, and a robot that does it for you based on your mood sounds too good to be true.