Maxus Beerbot - Twitter Arduino Beer Vending Machine

Presenting Beerbot – the Arduino-powered, Twitter-activated beer dispensing system.

Beerbot (now in 2.0) is a hacked can vending machine that employs a Rails+Twitter Stream API app to detect when Maxus staff request a beer on Twitter to @maxusbeerbot. Authorised Maxus staff Twitter accounts can RT to “approve” the beer request, which sends an authorisation code vis API to the Arduino controller. Then a cold beer comes out.

Everything is logged, allowing for in-depth analytics of who drank all the beer in the office and who gave it away.

  • Beerbot 1.0 featured a hacked fridge with Arduino+Ethernet Shield connecting to Thingspeak API, powering servo-motors to vend the cans. This was really dodgy and sits in the Sydney office.
  • Beerbot 2.0 is a portability and stability upgrade. Includes Arduino+WiFi shield to interface with the new mini-vending machine electronics. It was upgraded to run on MQTT language (via Cosm) due to overheads with parsing JSON. It sits in the Singapore office.


  • Arduino Leonardo
  • Arduino Wi-Fi Shield
  • Optocouplers to flip the “vend” switch
  • Fancy blue LEDs


  • Arduino SMS shield for connectivity redundancy, messaging via Twilio.
  • Status LEDs so we know what’s going on in that little Arduino brain.
  • Facebook API connectivity.
  • Find Cooper’s Pale cans in Singapore.


  • JSON parsing code help: Andy Gelme, Melbourne CCHS (@geekscape)
  • Wi-Fi shield library mod help for Arduino Leonardo: Stephan February, SG Hackerspace (@stephanfeb)


After being featured on HackADay, a few questions have been emailed in about the model of machine we hacked. It’s a Koolatron 10-Can Vending Machine. It can be bought from, but the cheapest we found at time of production was HomeDepot for USD$99.

NB: re voltage. Aussie, UK or Singaporeans – it’s 110V and needs at least a 500W Peak 220v-110v stepdown converter to operate, which can be quite costly.