(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
Beer cans + Raspberry Pi + Arduino = really, really slow typing.
This is an interesting idea, but we fear it will never catch on.
The team at Robofun, three Romanian gentlemen who create on-demand technology products, have put together 44 beer cans, an Arduino board and the Raspberry Pi computer to create a giant, novelty keyboard for Webstock, a blogging and social-media convention held annually in Romania.
Robofun was asked to create a fun way for attendees to enter a competition to win a trip to Prague — so they came up with the Beer Cans Keyboard that contestants could use to enter in their details.
Robofun CEO Viorel Spinu said:
We came up with a keyboard made out of 44 Staropramen beer cans. Each beer can was a key, and whenever someone touched it, the corresponding letter appeared on a large plasma screen (just like any regular computer keyboard).
And the surprise was fantastic! The user experience and engagement overcame any expectation. Every single person who attended Webstock tried the keyboard and participated to the contest.
Behind the scene, the system is built around an Arduino board and a few capacitive controllers (just like the ones which are inside smartphones' touchscreens), connected to a Raspberry Pi board, which controls the plasma screen display.
We think the temptation would be strong to drink the beer rather than type, which would then lead to some very messy Twitter updates.